A great walk along part of the 8.5 mile Monsal Trail which runs along the former Midland Railway line between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell. This walk is the section from Hassop Station Cafe and Cycle Hire to the far side of Cressbrook Tunnel through the recently re-opened tunnels along the former railway line.
Andrew was joined on the walk by British Olympic Mogal skier Ellie Koyander.
3½ miles (8km)
1182 ft (360m)
Level of difficulty
|Well maintained cycle path- gentle rise with tunnels|
Grid SK 21742 70522
|Keep on lead - cycle track|
|At Hassop Station|
On route - Hassop Station
Start at the pay and display Car Park at Hassop Station bookshop and cafe.
With the cafe on your left, join the Monsal Trail and turn right.
Remember, the Monsal Trail is also a cycle route - number 680 on the National Cycle Network - so be on the look out for bicycles.
The first bridge over the Trail is for the A6020 road - which is the one leading to the roundabout Hassop Station is accessed from.
The Trail here heads into a cutting - which gives some shelter from the Peak District's winds.
Two public footpath head off the Trail after the next road bridge, and they go to the village of Great Longstone.
After two more bridges, you reach the remains of Great Longstone for Ashford station, which served the villages of Great and Little Longstone.
When the station was built, the nearby Thornbridge Hall was the home of George Marples, one of the directors of the Midland Railway, and he had his own private steps from the hall down to the platform.
The Monsal Trail mostly follows the course of the River Wye, whose source lays to the west of Buxton. The spectacular vertical cliffs of Wye Dale are amongst the most attractive in the whole of the Peak District.
After walking into a very steep cutting, the first of the tunnels we walk through on this walk is ahead - Headstone Tunnel.
It is the longest on the Trail at 533 yards – or 487 metres.
Alll the four tunnels on the Monsal Trail are lit during normal daylight hours – so they aren’t too dark.
After you come out of the tunnel, a public footpath on the right climbs to the top of the Wye Valley up to Monsal Head.
In addition to the 8 tunnels required on the route, 2 major viaducts were built to take the line across the valleys - and you're walking on one of them now - the five-arch Monsal Dale Viaduct – and when you stand on it, be prepared for the wind which bellows down the valley.
The Trail is fairly exposed for a while, with steep slopes on the left, before entering into an cutting.
On the right can be seen the imposing sight of Creesbrook Mill, built in 1787. The heyday of the mill was the 19th century when it produced high-quality cotton for lacemaking. The mill finally closed in 1971 after which it was allowed to decay for several years before being restored.
- The next tunnel is Creesbrook Tunnel – and out of the other side gives amazing views of the east end of Miller’s Dale.
Our walk ends here, and turning around will get you back to Hassop Station- but you could continue on the Monsal Trail to Miller's Dale.
Details about the whole Monsal Trail from the Peak District National Park.
BBC News - report on the re-opening of the tunnels
A short report showing the re-opening of the tunnels.