Derbyshire Heritage Walks Derbyshire Heritage Walks (Adrian Brown)
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Rails Through The Peaks 1 - The Monsal Trail
Distance: 9.3 miles Duration: 4 - 6 hours Price: £20.00 per person
(Special family/group rates available - see below)

Headstone Viaduct, Monsal Dale

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.

For many years, the route of the Monsal Trail had to divert away from the railway in places as several of the tunnels that the line passed through had to be closed on safety grounds. Work to stabilise and restore these tunnels has recently been completed, and users of the Trail can now follow the route of the railway all the way from Bakewell to the end of the trail at Blackwell Mill.

This 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 joins the Trail at Blackwell Mill and follows it 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 in Monsal Dale. 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, do a little shopping, 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.

Please note that, although now nominally open, the tunnels along the trail can be closed on safety grounds during periods of severe weather. It may therefore be necessary to divert back onto the original route of the Monsal Trail in order to bypass the closed tunnels. This diversion will increase both the distance covered and the time required to complete the walk.

Distance: 9.3 miles.
Duration (approx): 4 - 6 hours (including lunch).
Start point: Wyedale Car Park (On the A6 Buxton Road),
Topley Pike,
Near Buxton,
Derbyshire.
(OS grid Ref: SK10327249)
Start time: 11:30am.*
End point: The former Bakewell Railway Station,
Station Road,
Bakewell,
Derbyshire.
Dates available: October 15th, 29th.
Unavailable November 2017 to February 2018.
March 2018 onwards, dates TBC.

Private bookings for this walk are also available - see here for details.
(* = As your guide will be arriving by the "Transpeak" and 65 bus services, the actual start time may be slightly delayed if the buses are running late.)

When is this walk available?

This walk is available between the beginning of March and the end of October. Scheduled walks will normally take place at least twice per month during this period, on the dates listed above. It may also be booked privately via a Personal Walking Guide on a date of your choice between early March and late October, or any scheduled walk may be upgraded to a private booking (subject to conditions - see here for details of how to make a private booking).

If you book a Personal Walking Guide for this walk, or upgrade a scheduled walk to a private booking, you can also request a different start time if desired. We are currently able to offer alternative start times of 11:00am, 12:00pm and 12:30pm for this walk.

If you are travelling to the walk via Buxton, it is also possible to begin the walk in Buxton with a visit to the site of the old Midland Station before taking the bus to Wyedale car park to begin the walk itself. This costs an additional £5.00 per booking for a regular scheduled walk or upgrade from a scheduled walk to a private booking (not £5.00 per person), or can be included for free for a Personal Walking Guide booking. Please contact us before booking if you wish to include this extra in your booking. (Please note that this additional cost does NOT include the bus fare from Buxton to Wyedale car park.)

Please note that, like all of our other walks that use the southern section of the Monsal Trail, we cannot accept any private bookings for this walk for the first week in August. This is due to that section of the Trail being closed to walkers so that it can be used by the park-and-ride service for Bakewell Show.

Prices.

The following prices apply for this walk:

Ticket Price Deposit
(Included in overall price)
Private Upgrade Cost
Adult or Child aged 16 and over
(Up to 8 people in group)
£20.00 per person £5.00 per person £20.00 per group
Adult or Child aged 16 and over
(9 or more people in group)
£15.00 per person £5.00 per person
Family Ticket - 1 adult plus up to 3 children
(aged 15 and below)
£44.00 per ticket £11.00 per ticket
Family Ticket - 2 adults plus up to 3 children
(aged 15 and below)
£56.00 per ticket £14.00 per ticket
Personal Walking Guide
(group of up to 10 people)
£100.00 per group £15.00 per group N/A
Personal Walking Guide
(group of 11 to 20 people)
£150.00 per group £22.50 per group

As detailed above, please add £5.00 onto the cost of your booking if you wish to begin the walk at Buxton Station (this is a free optional extra for Personal Walking Guide bookings). For more information on how to book places on this walk, and on private upgrades and private group bookings via a Personal Walking Guide, please see here. If you have any questions about the cost of this walk, please contact us via email at enquiries@derbysheritagewalks.com.

Travel to and from the walk.

This walk is easily accessible by both car and public transport. Full details of how to get to and from the walk will be included in the walk information sheet you will be sent along with your booking confirmation, but detailed information on the various public transport options is also available on our travel information page, which we try to keep as up to date as possible.

By far the easiest way to get to and from this walk from the Derby, Belper, Matlock and Bakewell areas is by bus on the High Peak Buses "Transpeak" service to Buxton Market Place. From there, you can catch a bus to the stop opposite Topley Pike. It is then just a couple of minutes walk to the start point of the walk at Wyedale Car Park. At the end of the walk, you can use either the "Transpeak" or Trent Barton 6.1 bus services to return home.

This walk is also easily accessible by public transport from Manchester, Chesterfield and Sheffield, either by changing at Buxton or via a direct bus service from Sheffield. At the end of the walk, you can easily return home via public transport, with direct services from Bakewell to all three destinations.

Please note that, as of April 2016, the Derbyshire Wayfarer day rover ticket is no longer valid on the "Transpeak" and you will need to purchase High Peak Buses own day rover ticket, the PeakPlus Extra, if you intend to travel on the "Transpeak". This ticket is also valid on the TM Travel number 65 service to Topley Pike, but is NOT valid on the Trent Barton 6.1 service.

If arriving by car, there is "Pay-and-display" car parking available at Wyedale Car Park (28 spaces, £4.50 all day). If you do arrive by car, you can then use the "Transpeak" and number 65 or 66 bus services to return to Wyedale Car Park to collect your car at the end of the walk. However, due to its small size, Wyedale Car Park can fill up very quickly on busy days such as weekends and Bank Holidays, and you may find it difficult to park there. Also, due to the limited number of buses from Buxton to Wyedale Car park, you may find it much quicker and easier to park at Bakewell and use the bus to get from there to the start point of the walk, and this is the option we usually recommend.

Wyedale Car Park can also be used as a drop-off point if someone is giving you a lift there, and there is a similar pick-up point at Bakewell Station at the far end of the walk.

Further information on bus times can be found here, while information on Manchester to Buxton trains is available from the Northern Rail website. If you have any questions prior to booking regarding public transport options, please contact us and we will attempt to help you if we can.

Is there anything special I need to bring?

Yes - a torch. Although the tunnels along the Monsal Trail have electric lighting installed, this can sometimes fail and leave you literally in the dark. It is therefore a good idea to make sure you pack a torch and spare batteries, just in case.

We also recommend that you bring plenty of water to drink, plus something to eat, as there are few facilities along the way for you to purchase food and drink apart from a mobile catering van that may be at Miller's Dale Station, or from the cafe at Hassop Station close to the end of the walk. Given the length of the walk and the time involved, we recommend that you bring at least one litre of water per person with you, and seriously think about increasing this to two litres in very hot weather.

Are there any disabled access issues?

Unfortunately, there are a few issues regarding wheelchair access on this walk as there is no easy wheelchair access onto the Trail at Blackwell Mill. It is possible for wheelchair users to access the Trail at Blackwell Mill, but the car park is some distance from the end of the Trail along a single-track private road that lacks pavements, with a steep ramp up onto the Trail. The only easy wheelchair access onto the Trail at the northern end is at Miller's Dale Station, which gives level access directly onto the Trail from the road past the station.

For this reason, if you are looking for a wheelchair-friendly walk on the Monsal Trail, we recommend our shorter Miller's Dale to Bakewell walk, which has level access onto the Trail at either end.

Is this walk suitable for dogs?

This is an ideal walk for dogs, if you think they can handle the rather long distance involved. If you would like to bring your dog with you, we do ask that you inform us at the time of booking. We also ask that, due to the large number of cyclists and horses using the Trail, you keep your dog under close control on a short non-extendible lead at all times and do not allow it to run free under any circumstances.

Booking

Scheduled Walks

You can book and pay for places on all of our scheduled walks online via PayPal. Other payment options are available on request - Please e-mail us for details if required.

The cost of this walk is £20.00 per person, including a £5.00 per person non-refundable deposit. The normal maximum group size for this walk is 8 people, but we can accommodate groups of up to 20 people if required, and offer a discounted rate of £15.00 per person for larger groups of 9 or more. For bookings of more than 8 people, please e-mail us with details of your booking and we will send you a PayPal invoice or arrange other payment options as required.

We also have discounted family tickets available for this walk. These cost £44.00 for one adult and up to three children aged up to 15 years old, or £56.00 for two adults and up to three children aged up to 15 years old. Other discounted family rates can be quoted on request - please e-mail us for details. All family tickets include a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Private Bookings

If you wish to have the exclusive services of your guide, you may upgrade any scheduled walk to a private booking. Not only does this guarantee you the exclusive services of your guide, but it allows you to walk at your own pace without having to worry about others, and the walk may also be varied within reason to suit your own personal interests or abilities. Please note that we cannot upgrade a scheduled walk to a private booking if we have already received other bookings for that walk.

The cost of upgrading a scheduled walk to a private booking is the same as for a scheduled walk, plus a private booking fee of £20.00 per group. For private group bookings of 9 or more, we offer a discounted rate of £15.00 per person, including a £5.00 per person non-refundable deposit, plus the £20.00 per group private booking fee. Please e-mail us for more information if you would like to upgrade a scheduled walk to a private booking.

Personal Walking Guides

You can also make a private booking for this walk on dates other than those on which it is normally scheduled by booking a Personal Walking Guide. This allows you to do the walk when you want to, not when we have it scheduled. We have Personal Walking Gudes available most days, except for those listed as either "unavailable" or "unavailable for private bookings" on the calendar here. Please see the table below for the days of the week on which we are able to offer Personal Walking Guide bookings for this walk.

Personal Walking Guide Availability - Rails Through The Peaks 1
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Bank Holidays
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Most* Most* Most*
* = Please contact us for details of availability

The cost of booking a Personal Walking Guide for this walk is £100.00 per group (£150.00 for groups of 11 to 20 people). Please note that we cannot take a Personal Walking Guide booking for this walk on the same date as we are also running it as a scheduled walk. Please see here for how to book a Personal Walking Guide for this walk.


When can I book this walk?

Bookings for scheduled walks can be made at any time up to 48 hours before the intended date of your walk, or up to 72 hours beforehand for Personal Walking Guides, but the earlier you book, the more chance you have of getting the date you would like. We regret that we cannot accept bookings made less than 48 hours prior to the planned start time of the walk (72 hours for Personal Walking Guide bookings).

Please ensure before booking that you have read and agree to our terms and conditions.

Latest booking news

  • Bookings are open for all dates listed, and close at 11:30am two days prior to the date of the walk.
  • We are now accepting Personal Walking Guide bookings for this walk for 2017. Personal Walking Guide bookings may be made for Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, most Saturdays and some Sundays between the beginning of March and the end of October 2017.
How to book

To book a scheduled walk, simply select the number of places you require from the drop-down list, enter the date you would like to book, and confirm that you accept the terms and conditions. If you have a credit or debit card, you don't even need a PayPal account in order to make your booking.

Once we have received your booking, we will e-mail your booking confirmation and other information you will need to the address you gave during the booking process. In order to allow sufficient time for us to process your booking, please book at least two days ahead of the date of the walk you wish to book.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque, please contact us via e-mail with details of the walk you would like to book and we will send you the necessary information. As booking in this way takes much longer than booking online, please book at least two weeks before the date of the walk to allow for postage times.

Private bookings

If you would like to upgrade a scheduled walk to a private booking or book a Personal Walking Guide for this walk, please contact us to see if this is possible. You can find more information on private group bookings here, and information on Personal Walking Guides here.

Book a place on this walk

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If you encounter any problems with your booking, or have any questions about this walk, please e-mail us.



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