Panorama of the Monsal Trail hike in Peak District, England
Panorama of the Monsal Trail hike in Peak District, England

Monsal Trail

Peak District
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Trail signpost on the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandViaduct at the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandView of Bakewell from the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandCyclist enjoying the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandOld Bakewell Station on the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandAlpaca farm off the trail of the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandPicnic spot on the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandHassop Station Shop and Cafe on the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandA local treat on the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, EnglandViaduct at the Monsal Trail Hike in Peak District, England

Monsal Trail

Distance: 3.7mi
Elevation: 157ft
Time: 1.5-2h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.4 Overall Rating
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The Monsal Trail is a renowned cycling and walking route that follows a section of the old Manchester – London railway built in 1863. It is 8.5mi in length, stretching from Buxton to Bakewell, but this hike is a select section of that.

Monsal Trail Map

Getting there

To start the Monsal Trail, from Bakewell, turn off the A6 onto Baslow Road. Cross the River Wye and take an immediate right onto Coombs Road (a narrow country lane). Follow to the end where you can park by the trailhead.

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About

When to do

All Year

Backcountry Campsites

Yes. Mandale Campsite OR Greenhills Holiday Park

Toilets

At Hassop AND the Old Bakewell Station (on route)

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Out and back


Monsal Trail
Elevation Graph


Monsal Trail Route Description

To avoid tourist crowds, we recommend starting the Monsal Trail hike at the Monsal Trail End on the edge of Bakewell. From here you can view one of the original railway viaducts–which are tunnels running underneath the ground and have since been turned into walking, biking and horse riding paths. Each tunnel is about 1312ft long and lit during daylight hours

Just before the Coombs Viaduct, ascend a series of shorts steps or the cycle slipway to your left up onto the Monsal Trail. The route is flat and very well defined, making it suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and bicycles.

Take the trail at your own pace, enjoying stunning views over Water-cum-Jolly Dale, a picturesque dayle close to Cressbrook Mill. This dale laid undiscvoered since the closing of the railway line in 1968, but is now open to the public to enjoy. Follow the trail north for 1.9mi. There are beautiful views of Bakewell near the beginning to your left. As of 2020, the old station “Goods Shed” has been reopened as a free interpretation zone, offering fun for all ages.

After a scenic amble, you will eventually reach the Hassop Station Cafe and Shop that sits just off the trail. There is a small playground for children here, as well as a bicycle hire.

You can take a break here (recommended) before turning around and following the trail back to the Monsal Trail End.

Hiking trail Highlights

Monsal Dale

This stunning valley located in Derbyshire, England is tucked away in the White Peak limestone area of the Peak District National Park and is a can’t miss highlight. Walk along the scenic Wye River, sit by a weir, or enjoy a languid picnic in the peaceful countryside.

Here you’ll find the famous Headstone viaduct, a headstone tunnel located at the southern end of the park; Fin Cop Hill, an Iron Age hill fort built for defense; and Hob’s House cave for exploring.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Monsal Trail

How long is the Monsal Trail?

The Monsal Trail is 9.0mi in its entirety from Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale to Coombs Road, at Bakewell.

Is the Monsal Trail flat?

Yes, the Monsal Trail is relatively flat across the entire path and very family-friendly.

Where do you park for the Monsal Trail?

The most convenient parking is located in Bakewell, where there are several pay and display car parks in the town. For even easier access, there is a small car park next to the Trail at Bakewell Station (though this can fill up fast). Use postcode DE45 1BU to get the central Bakewell car parks.

How many tunnels are in the Monsal Trail?

There are four railway tunnels total: Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel, Chee Tor Tunnel

Is the Monsal trail suitable for prams?

Yes, the trail is pram and wheelchair accessible. For easy access to the trail, there are ramps at Bakewell Station, Hassop Station, Great Longstone Station and Millers Dale Station.

Is the Monsal trail a loop?

While the Monsal trail itself is an out-and-back trail, there are options to connect your walk to other trails to make it a loop. You can combine the Monsal, Dale and Bakewell trails to create a 12.3mi loop that is relatively easy to complete.

Insider Hints

  • If you have very small children, consider starting the hike from Hassop Station instead. Although further from Bakewell, there are plenty of amenities near Hassop Station, and the trail is extremely easy to access.

  • Before you start, pick up some tasty signature Bakewell Puddings from the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop in the centre of the village.

  • You can extend the hike as far along the Monsal trail as you wish. Monsal Dale from Monsal Head is a worthwhile viewpoint, although it can get very crowded on weekends and holidays.

Comments

Levin 1 year ago

It was far from my daily type of sightings! Simply relaxing!

10.0 Overall Rating
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unicorn_lady 1 year ago

This is a trail you would want your partner to walk with. It was very romantic to see the small stone bridges and picnic areas along the way. Make sure to stop by the lovely Hassop cafe for a good cup of coffee and a treat.

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1h 30m Time Taken
Avamichelle82 1 year ago

Just an hour hike but filled with rich architecture in sight. How the original viaduct has been preserved astounds me. It is old but still beautiful.

10.0 Overall Rating
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1h 45m Time Taken
climbing_ally21 1 year ago

It was a beautiful day for a walk. I do love the charming atmosphere of the trail.

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2h 00m Time Taken
Mr Dean 1 year ago

Monsal Trail was so easy. My family enjoyed our bonding. There are some tunnels and nice views along the way.

8.0 Overall Rating
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2h 00m Time Taken
WanderLee 1 year ago

A beautiful green nature. So much to explore

9.0 Overall Rating
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1h 45m Time Taken
Sarah Potts 1 year ago

Some amazing views and tunnels along the way. A truly lovely place to go.

9.0 Overall Rating
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2h 00m Time Taken
Olivia H. 1 year ago

Aside from its amazing views, it's also an easy hike. Nice environment. Great place to explore.

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Stephen L. 1 year ago

There is a small playground for children here, as well as bicycle hire. The trail is extremely easy to access. We love it so much!

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Abu Sharif 1 year ago

It incredible, and the gentle breeze was relaxing.

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45 Comments Show all

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