Derbyshire Heritage Walks Derbyshire Heritage Walks (Adrian Brown)
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Rails Through The Peaks 3 - Bakewell to Buxton
Distance: 13.5 miles Duration: 6 - 7 hours Price: £30.00 per person
(Special family/group rates available - see below)
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 southern access point of the Monsal Trail at the former Bakewell Station. It then follows the Trail northwards, 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. Reaching the Trail’s northernmost point at Blackwell Mill, it then continues on for the final four miles into the spa town of Buxton. As the modern railway still occupies the trackbed along this section of route, the walk uses footpaths and roads to follow the route of the railway as closely as possible to reach the finish point at the remains of the former Midland Railway station in Buxton.

With good parking at the southern end of the Trail, and an easy return from Buxton by bus, this walk makes a great day out for those looking for interesting things to do in and around Bakewell, Buxton and the Peak District.

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.

Distance: 13.5 miles.
View Bakewell Station in a larger map
Duration (approx): 6 to 7 hours (including lunch).
Start point: The former Bakewell Railway Station,
Station Road,
Bakewell,
Derbyshire.
Start time: 9:30am* (Monday - Saturday).
10:30am* (Sundays and Bank Holidays).
End point: Opposite Buxton Railway Station,
Station Road
Buxton,
Derbyshire.
Dates available: Currently only available between March and October as a private booking.
(* = As your guide will be arriving by the "Transpeak" bus service, the actual start time may be slightly delayed if the bus is running more than 15 minutes late.)

When is this walk available?

This walk may be booked privately on a date of your choice between late March and the end of October. It is normally available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, most Saturdays and some Sundays. It is also available on most Bank Holidays during this period. It is not normally available on Thursdays. 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.

Although 9:30am is the recommended start time for this walk (10:30am on Sundays and Bank Holidays), and the earliest we are able to offer, it is possible to request a later start time. However, we do not recommend a start time after 11:30am (10:30am during October) due to the need to finish the walk in daylight and connect with buses from Buxton.

Prices.

The following prices apply for this walk:

Ticket Price Deposit
(Included in overall price)
Adult or Child aged 16 and over
(Up to 3 people in group)
£30.00 per person £5.00 per person
Family Ticket - 1 adult plus up to 3 children
(aged 15 and below)
£66.00 per ticket £16.50 per ticket
Family Ticket - 2 adults plus up to 3 children
(aged 15 and below)
£81.00 per ticket £20.25 per ticket
Personal Walking Guide
(group of up to 10 people)
£100.00 per group £15.00 per group
Personal Walking Guide
(group of 11 to 12 people)
£150.00 per group £22.50 per group

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 Buxton areas is by bus, as the hourly High Peak Buses "Transpeak" service between Derby and Manchester calls at both Bakewell and Buxton. From the bus stop in Bakewell, it is then a walk of just over half a mile to the start point at the former Bakewell Station. The end point of the walk, opposite Buxton Railway Station, is adjacent to other bus stops served by the "Transpeak" service.

By using the TM Travel 218 bus service, it is possible to reach Bakewell from Sheffield. At the end of the walk, you can then use the 5:30pm or 7:00pm TM Travel number 65 bus service to return to Sheffield.

From Chesterfield, the walk can be accessed by using the Hulleys of Baslow 170 bus service to Bakewell. Unfortunately, a direct return to Chesterfield is more problematical, as the final Buxton to Chesterfield bus departs at 4:00pm. It would, however, be possible to return to Chesterfield by taking the TM Travel number 65 bus service above and changing at Sheffield.

Please note that, from April 2016, the Derbyshire Wayfarer day rover ticket is no longer accepted on High Peak services such as the "Transpeak". If using the "Transpeak", you will need to purchase the High Peak Buses own PeakPlus Extra day rover ticket, which is also valid on TM Travel services, but is NOT valid on any Trent Barton or national rail services.

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.

If arriving by car, there is a 28-space "pay-and-display" car park at Bakewell Station, and more "pay-and-display" parking a short distance away at the Bakewell Bridge Car Park and the Bakewell Agricultural Centre. If using a sat-nav, the postcode for Station Road is DE45 1GE, while that for the other "pay-and-display" car parking is DE45 1AQ - This covers both Bakewell Bridge Car Park and the Agricultural Centre. If you do arrive by car, you can then use the "Transpeak" service to return to Bakewell, alighting at Matlock Street.

Is there anything special I need to bring?

Yes - a torch. Although the newly-reopened 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 the cafe at Hassop Station or a mobile catering van that may be at MIller's Dale Station. Given the distance and time involved, we recommend that you bring at least two litres of water per person (preferably a little more), and think seriously about increasing that amount by at least 50% in warm or hot weather. In very hot weather, we would also recommend you "pre-hydrate" by drinking an additional 250-500ml of water before starting the walk.

Are there any disabled access issues?

Unfortunately, there are a few issues regarding disabled access on this walk. There are no real issues with the sections of the route that use the Monsal Trail as this is suitable for cycles in addition to walking, and so is also theoretically suitable for wheelchairs too. However, there is no easy wheelchair access off the Trail at its northern end at Blackwell Mill, and the closest wheelchair access off the Trail is back at Miller's Dale Station about two and a half miles back from Blackwell Mill. Also, the route onwards from Blackwell Mill to Buxton is unsuitable for wheelchairs and those of limited mobility as it is cross-country, involves a few steep climbs, and also a number of stiles.

For this reason, bookings cannot be accepted from wheelchair users or those of limited mobility for the full 13.5-mile route. It is however possible to make a private booking for the Bakewell to Miller's Dale section, where there is a step-free access off the Trail to a car park that can be used as a pick-up point. This walk is essentially the reverse of our Miller's Dale to Bakewell walk, and so is priced accordingly at £15.00 per person plus a private booking fee of £15.00 per group. If you are a wheelchair user, are acting on behalf of someone who is, or have difficulty using steps and stiles or other mobility issues, please contact us in order to discuss your exact requirements.

Is this walk suitable for dogs?

This is an ideal walk for dogs, if you think they can handle the especially 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 and the fact the the later part of the walk crosses farm fields containing livestock, 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

This walk can be booked privately on a day of your choosing, even if we also have another walk scheduled for the same day. The only days the walk is not available are Thursdays and those listed as "unavailable" or "unavailable for private bookings" on the walking calender here.

Availability - Rails Through The Peaks 3
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 normal maximum group size for a private booking on this walk is 8 people, but can be increased to 12 people if required.

For small groups of up to 3 people, the cost of this walk is £30.00 per person, including a £5.00 per person non-refundable deposit. For larger groups, this walk can be booked at a cost of £100.00 per group by booking a Personal Walking Guide (£150.00 per group for 11 or 12 people). This group rate includes a 15% non-refundable deposit.

We also have discounted family tickets available for this walk. These cost £66.00 for one adult and up to three children aged up to 15 years old, or £81.00 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.

When can I book this walk?

Bookings can be made at any time up to 72 hours before the intended date of your walk, 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 72 hours prior to the planned start time of the walk.

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

How To Book

If you wish to make a private booking for this walk, it is usually available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, most Saturdays and some Sundays from late March to the end of October, except for those dates listed as "unavailable" or "unavailable for private bookings" on the calendar on the right. If you would like to book this walk, please e-mail us to request a walk on your chosen date.

Please include the following information in your e-mail:

  • Name of walk (e.g. "Rails Through The Peaks 3").
  • Date required.
  • Number in group.
  • Name and contact details of organiser (e-mail and postal addresses).
  • Preferred payment method (PayPal or cheque).
  • Any special requirements.

Once we have received your enquiry, we will e-mail you back (usually within 24 - 48 hours) to confirm if the desired date is available, and that it has been reserved for your booking. We will then send you the payment details for your preferred payment method and, once we have received cleared payment, will then send your booking confirmation and other walk information to you via e-mail.

Bookings can be made at any time up to 72 hours before the intended date of your walk. We regret that we cannot accept any bookings made less than 72 hours prior to the planned start time of the walk.



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