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May 23rd 2016
Published: August 2nd 2016
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Drove to Lichfield and toured the three towered Cathedral and wondered through the town. I found a delightful elderly lady running a coffee shop. I gave my typical..."on my gap year, forty years delayed" spiel, but she seemed genuinely interested, as I was the only person in her shop and she wanted to talk. When I ggot to the Seven Sidters part of our trip, she lit up. She was one of seven sisters and enjoyed having been there.

Now on to the Peaks District, starting in Ashbourne. Where we walked the town, St. Oswald, and lunch at Jack Rabbit’s Ashbourne. Got to Ilam Hall YHA and got directions for the Dovedale Hike loop, which starts and ends at Ilam Park.

Dovedale hiking trail starts along the River Dove, where you have to cross the river on stepping stones. Then climbing along the peaks toward Thorpe’s Cloud, where the views were wonderful. Got back to Ilam late in day in time for dinner at the hostel.

The Ilam Park was owned from the 16th century, for over 250 years, by the Port family. It was sold to David Pike Watts in 1809. On his death in 1816, the old hall was inherited by his daughter who had married Jesse Russell. Russell (as Jesse Watts-Russell, High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1819 and Conservative MP for the rotten borough of Gatton) commissioned James Trubshaw to build a new Hall to designs by John Shaw; the Hall, now a Grade II* listed building, was built between 1821 and 1826.

By the early 1930s it had been sold for demolition. The demolition was well advanced when Sir Robert McDougal bought it for the Trust, on the understanding that the remaining parts (- the entrance porch and hall, the Great Hall and the service wing) be used as an International Youth Hostel. Today Ilam Hall is leased to the Youth Hostels Association. - Wiki

Ilam Hall YHA -

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