UKC

Monsal Trail - New Route for the Peak

© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News

Work is being finalised on an extension to the Monsal Trail in the Peak District, taking the route from Bakewell to Wye Dale near Buxton, a distance of more than eight miles. The new improved route will be officially unveiled by transport minister Norman Baker on 25 May 2011.

For climbers access to Chee Tor and the Cornice will now be quicker and easier, down the tunnels and with the addition of the new boardwalk in Chee Dale.

The Chee Tor tunnel  © Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
The Chee Tor tunnel
© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News


Four disused railway tunnels will be reopened to the public for the first time in many years, to form part of the extended trail being built by the Peak District National Park Authority. Each about 400m long, the tunnels at Cressbrook, Headstone, Litton and Chee Tor were all closed to rail traffic in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. It was regular practice in the 1970s and early 1980s to walk up these tunnels (some of the team at UKC can remember that far back), but by the mid-80s their the entrances were blocked up. Official access for walkers, cyclists and equestrians will now be restored, with the tunnels neing repaired, resurfaced and relit.

Walkers enjoying the Monsal Trail  © Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
Walkers enjoying the Monsal Trail
© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
New signage being erected for opening day on 25 May  © Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
New signage being erected for opening day on 25 May
© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News

The work is being carried out as part of the £2.25m Pedal Peak District project, which also includes a publicity campaign to encourage more cycling in the National Park. Funding has been provided by the Department of Transport.

Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for Pedal Peak District, said: 'It is an amazing experience to go through the tunnels and see the fantastic views of the countryside as you come out. We are looking forward to completing the work so that cyclists, walkers and horse riders can experience that feeling...'


Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for Pedal Peak District outside the Chee Tor tunnel  © Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for Pedal Peak District outside the Chee Tor tunnel
© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
The new boardwalk in Chee Dale  © Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
The new boardwalk in Chee Dale
© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News

Long term hopes to complete a circular route between Bakewell, Matlock and Buxton will require further funding and planning arrangements.

Path upgrades recently carried out in nearby Chee Dale by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT) in conjunction with the BMC's Access and Conservation Trust (ACT) were a great success, with a strong turnout from volunteers including UKC/UKH readers. See our recent news item for more.

'The main valley path uses the boardwalk and is very popular with walkers' says UKC's own Alan James. 'Even though the new tunnel trail by-passes much of this, I think the valley base path will remain popular since it is a great and spectacular walk in its own right.'

No plans for a bridge across to Chee Tor. Tom Cain gets his feet wet.  © Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News
No plans for a bridge across to Chee Tor. Tom Cain gets his feet wet.
© Mick Ryan/UKC and UKH News


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10 May, 2011
will acesss to the wateer cum jolly cornice be quicker too? ive seen some blocked up tunnels there.
10 May, 2011
Could be. It looks like the plan includes 2 blocked up tunnels between Cressbrook and Litton Mill: http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/index/visiting/cycle/cycling-information/pedalpeakdistrict-faqs.htm On another note, I'd be interested to find out what light fittings they're using in the tunnels and if they'll be on 24-7.
11 May, 2011
Excellent news. Since my youth I've wondered what was on the other side of that tunnel at Chee Tor.
11 May, 2011
So the tunnels are open,[again]. That means hundreds of cyclists, walkers horses etc etc all vying for space on the footpath & making more noise and impact on the quiet of the dale. It will be like the other overcrowded & ruined bike trails such as Tissington. I,d like to see the tunnels blocked, the boardwalk & stepping stones removed & a sign saying it,s necessary to wade to follow the dale. That would protect the environment & keep things quiet. By the way has anyone else noticed the increased noise & litter since the new access was opened. Just a miserable old git!!
11 May, 2011
and that Julia Bradbury, she's no better than she should be with her walking and her talking and her bloomin enthusiasm for disused railway paths
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