Tunnels – Monsal Trail – April 2013

The Monsal Trail is a cycle, horse riding and walking trail in the Derbyshire Peak District.

It follows a section of the former Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway, built by the Midland Railway in 1863 to link Manchester with London. The line was closed in 1968 by the Labour Minister for Transport Barbara Castle, not as it is often thought by the Beeching Axe, and remained unused for twelve years before being taken over by the Peak District National Park.

The Monsal Trail is about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) in length.[3] It starts at the Topley Pike junction (in Wye Dale, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Buxton) and runs to Coombs viaduct, 1 mile (1.6 km) south-east of Bakewell. It follows the valley of the River Wye and runs parallel to the A6.

From the Wyedale car park,[4] the easiest access point for the northern end of the trail, there is a walk of about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi), with the last part up steps, to reach the Trail.[5] Starting at the south of the trail, “from Market Place in Bakewell, follow Sheffield Road and cross the five-arched bridge of the River Wye, turn right and ascend Station Road to the former Bakewell Station and car park on your left.”[6]

The trail passes through such places as Blackwell Mill, Millers Dale, Cressbrook, Monsal Dale, Great Longstone, Hassop and Bakewell. In the case of Longstone and Hassop, although a station was provided, it was some distance from the village.

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