Take a 9-mile guided walk through some of the Peak District's most spectacular scenery, and at the same time learn about the story of the most unlikely main railway line in the country.
Winding its way through the heart of the Peak District National Park, the Monsal Trail follows the route of the former Midland Railway main line linking London, Derby and Manchester. Built in the 1860s through spectacular terrain, the line moved noted Victorian railway author F.S. Williams to write:
“The scenery through which we now have to pass, and the engineering works by which the journey is accomplished, must be seen to be appreciated – they cannot be described at length.”
As a result of the cuts in the network first initiated by the infamous Dr Richard Beeching, the line lost all of its local services in June 1967, and then closed completely north of Matlock in July 1968. In the early 1980s, the Peak District National Park Authority purchased a section of the former trackbed from British Rail and used it to create the Monsal Trail.
This 9.3-mile walk begins at the main northern access point of the Monsal Trail at Wyedale car park next to the A6, just south of Buxton. It then follows the Trail southwards, stopping to look at the history of each of the former stations along the Trail, plus other points of interest such as the picturesque Headstone Viaduct. The walk finishes at the site of the old Bakewell Station, from where it is just a short walk down into the town. There, you can sample one of the town's famous Puddings, or simply spend time enjoying the pretty riverside walk while you wait for your bus home.
Easily reached by bus, and with excellent parking at the north end of the Trail, this walk is perfect for those looking for things to do in or near Buxton and Bakewell. And, with no hills, only one set of steps, and hard surfaces all the way, this walk is perfect for those looking for an easy hill-free (and mud-free) walk.
Both regular scheduled walks and private bookings via a Personal Walking Guide are available.