The beautiful Peak District walk along an old railway line that offers something a little different


There are miles of walking trails criss-crossing the Peak District, taking in the stunning scenery of the National Park.

With tracks spanning dramatic hills, mysterious caves and stunning waterfalls, you’ll never be short of options for a day out.

But there is one that offers something a little different.

The Monsal Trail follows the old Midland Railway line, creating a track that can be used by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users, making it accessible to all.

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It stretches from Blackwell Mill, to Chee Dale, to Coombs Road in Bakewell and is 8.5 miles from start to finish, so there’s no shortage of impressive views.

Dotted throughout are ancient railway tunnels, the longest are around 400m long and are floodlit during the day, creating a walk unlike any other in the Peak District.

Litton Tunnel on the Monsal Trail

The Midland Railway Line was closed in 1968 and in 1981 most of the route reopened to the public as a traffic-free route.

Four of the rail tunnels remained closed until 2011 for safety reasons, but today the trail is fully open.

To see on the Monsal trail

From the trail, you can see the beautiful (and wonderfully named) Water-cum-Jolly Dale, which was hidden when the train tracks closed.

The view from the Tombstone Viaduct below Monsal Head is another area of ​​beauty well worth visiting.

Enjoy the stunning views from the trail
Enjoy the stunning views from the trail

Cressbrook Mill and Litton Mill are located on the road and reflect the area’s industrial past.

Following the trail is also a great way to appreciate the Peak District’s railway heritage. A former train station ticket office in Millers Dale has even been converted into a cafe, which is halfway along the route.

Near Millers Dale you will also find several lime kilns, another nod to the Industrial Revolution.

What you need to know before you go

Electric scooters are not allowed on the Monsal Trail.

It is advisable to bring a torch if you follow the route later in the afternoon, in case you are caught off guard as the tunnels are only lit during the day.

You can hire bikes at either end of the trail, Hassop Station and Blackwell Mill.

For a shorter route, you can choose the section between Millers Dale and Chee Dale, which is only two miles each way.

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