Monsal Trail walk

Gentle Peak District walk along a disused railway line via viaducts, tunnels, and escarpements

Length 9 miles (14.5 km)
Toughness 1 / 10. Good surface. Very gently up or downhill
Features

This walk follows a closed railway line, over viaducts (with view) and through tunnels (lit, but torch recommended) and cutting, in the Peak District National Park. It is a walk / cycle /ride trail.

The trail is 9 miles long, starting 3 miles east of Buxton, and follows the Wye valley via the Chee Tor No. 1 (361m) and 2 tunnels (83m), Miller's Dale viaduct, Liton tunnel (472m) , Cressbrook tunnel (431m), Headstone viaduct, Headstone tunnel (487m), Hassop, Bakerwell and ends at then closed Coombs Road viaduct.

The trail is surfaced, has a gentle gradient, and is suitable for wheelchairs. Millers Dale, Hassop, and Bakewell have wheelchair access.

The trail is on Google Streetview

The trail is being extented 12km south to Matlock, but the work to re-open the tunnel south of the Coombe Viaduct will take some time. The route further south will open first, part of it will be alongside the original trackbed now used as a heritage railway.

The trail is also being extended west to Buxton, though not via the original railway trackbed (which is still in use)

Travel

The nearest stations are Buxton and Matlock. The "Transpeak" bus runs between them, and the start and finish of the walk.

Topley Pike Junction

There is a layby on the A6 a short walk away (SK17 9TG, by the turn off to a quarry), or the "Wyedale" pay car park (SK17 9TE, £4.50) about 1km away, with a link path).

The bus stop by the Wyedale car park is on the #65/66 Buxton - Wyedal - Sheffield route, not the Transpeak route..

About 10 mins walk away is the 'Blackwell in the Peak' bus stop (by the A6/Blackwell turn off, see the OS map) on the Transpeak bus route to Bakewell (for Coombs Viaduct)

Bakewell / Coombs Road Viaduct

Park by the side of the road at DE45 1AR.

The viaduct is about 500m south of Bakewell. You could park on the outskirts of Bakewell, or the pay car park in the town centre at DE45 1AS, and walk uphill to the trail. There is a small car park by the trail itself with level access at DE45 1GE.

The closest bus stop, which is on the Transpeak route, is in Bakewell, about 15 mins walk away. There are closer stops further south along the A6, but no footpaths to them.

Transpeak bus

Use this bus to return to your car, or to travel to the start or finish from Buxton or Matlock stations.

Mon-Sun, hourly, takes 20 mins. Traveline - Bus Times

Route : Manchester (3/day) - Buxton station - "Bakewell in the Peak" (A6 Bakewell turnoff, for Topley Pike) - Bakewell (stand E, for Coombs Road Viaduct) - Matlock - Derby (bus station stand 21, train station is 500m away).

Eat

From west to east

  • The Angler's Rest, SK17, 8SN, a riverside pub not far from Millers Dale station on the B6049
  • Monsal Head Hotel (pub) by the Headstone tunnel, DE45 1NL
  • Hassop station cafe
  • Many places in Bakewell
History

This section of the "Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway" was built in 1863 - in the era of competing railway companies, as mainline route for the Midlands railway to Manchester. Even when it was built, the route had too many compromises. It had to avoid the land of influential land owners, in terrain that was already difficult, so the Bakewell station is above the town not in the town. During its construction, the landowners, seeing the value of rail line, relented, but by then it was too late to change the route. So, they influenced the location of stations instead. It was closed in 1968.

The route is safeguared should it ever be reopened, but the cost of restoring the tunnels and viaducts would be prohibitive.

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Profile
By Car

Start SK17 9TG Map Directions

Finish Coombs Roads, Bakewell, DE45 1AR Map Directions

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Help

Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Mar-18

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