The River Dove can conveniently be divided into two areas, North and South. The upper 10kms of the river generally follows the strike along the shale / limestone boundary, the limestones dipping approximately 18 degrees to the south west.
At the northern end is Dowel Resurgence, fed by a group of sinks high in the reef limestone. Some have been inconclusively dug, but digging at Owl Hole revealed a mature cave.
The two major risings further south, the Crowdwell and the Ludwell, both have high discharge figures of roughly 50 l/sec., but are not fed from any known sinks. No extensive digging has been carried out at these sites or in the numerous dolines in the Dove catchment as a whole.
North - south faulting and folding gives rise to some striking limestone scenery along the course of the Dove, and leakage seems to have been prevented by the building of wiers with clay-puddled floors to improve the fishing. This has effectively prevented the river from disappearing underground.
Incision of both the Dove and the Manifold took place during the Pleistocene, the pre-glacial river downcutting in a series of stages to preserve a number of river terraces.
From Wolfscote Grange the river cuts through the upper reef limestones for the next 8 kms, doubling in size at the Milldale Risings. Although no dye tests have been carried out, it is suspected that these risings are partly fed from the sinks to the north west, Gateham and Plantation Swallets. It is possible that an extensive system awaits the determined digger here.