MONSAL TRAIL – BRIEF HISTORY by John Merrill
Former railway line that linked Matlock to Buxton but ceased use in the mid 1960’s. In 1981 an eight mile (12.8 km) section from Bakewell to Chee Dale was opened as a pedestrian way. There are several long tunnels and these have been closed but link paths join the trail together. The five arched viaduct across Monsal Dale was built in 1861.
Work on the Midland Line from Matlock via Buxton to Manchester began in 1860. The Haddon tunnel is 1,058 yards long, the second longest on the line, being built away from the Duke of Rutland’s home, Haddon Hall. As a result the line reached Bakewell, 100 feet above the town, and accounts for the station being placed where it is. Hassop Station was used by the Duke of Devonshire and Thornbridge Station is alongside Thornbridge Hall. The Little Longstone tunnel is 533 yards long and the Monsal viaduct is 300 feet long with five arches, fifty feet apart. Cressbrook tunnel is 471 yards long and Litton tunnel 515 yards. In Chee Dale there are two short tunnels and the only ones on the trail that you walk through. The longest tunnel is near Miller’s Dale Station and into Chee Dale.
In May 2011 all tunnels were opened giving walkers and cyclists the ability to walk the trail end to end for the first time ever adn with the whole ttrail now being almost level it can be used by wheelchair users, also, with access from Bakewell, Hassop Station (with disabled toilet access) or Millers Dale
Car parks –
Bakewell Station – Grid Ref. SK 223690.
Hassop Station/Country Bookstore – Grid Ref. SK 218706.
Monsal Head – Grid Ref. SK 185715.
Upperdale – Grid Ref. SK 177723.
Miller’s Dale Station – Grid Ref. SK 138733.
Topley Pike/Chee Dale – Grid Ref. SK 104725.