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This afternoon I took a short walk around Ilam Park...
This guest blog is from the team behind the Peak District Walking Festival. The Festival has more than 100 events and walks on a wide range of themes and runs from April 26 to May 12 2013.
A Walk through Ilam Park
Words by Cath Lee
This afternoon I took a short walk around Ilam Park. I was amazed at the pretty scenery of the village and traditional English parkland set against the backdrop of the hills of the White Peak.
The village of Ilam itself is very pretty. The houses were built by the Watts-Russell family in the 1820s in an alpine style.
From the village you can take a track to the left of the main drive to Ilam Hall. It is worth stopping off to look at the church which contains the tomb of St Bertram who was believed to have the power to cure illness. There are also the shafts of two stone Saxon crosses in the churchyard which are believed to be over 1,000 years old.
Ilam Hall is a stunning Gothic style building. Built between 1821 and 1826 for shipping magnate Jesse Watts-Russell. It is now a Youth Hostel.
The park and grounds are in the hands of the National Trust and are open to the public. The Italian style gardens at the side of the hall are worth walking through, then why not go down to the River Manifold and stroll along Paradise Walk which as laid out in Victorian times as a carriage ride for wealthy visitors to Ilam.
The point where the River Hamps joins the Manifold is fascinating, as the Hamps flows underground for about 3 miles before it rises to the surface just a few feet from where it flows into the Manifold.
At the end of Paradise Walk, you can turn right up a track into Ilam Park and as this is Access Land, you are free to walk anywhere within the park that takes your fancy. I walked up onto a rocky outcrop for fine views over the park and surrounding countryside. Look out for evidence of mediaeval field systems in the park.
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