The Trail



The current Monsal Trail is approximately 8.5 miles long, stretching between Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale and Coombs Road in Bakewell.


The Trail is described by the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA), as 'a traffic free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users through some of the Peak District's most spectacular limestone dales'.


A £2.25 million refurbishment of four tunnels along the route enabled the current route to be realised in May 2011.


The investment was provided by the Department for Transport and has ensured the refurbished tunnels were safeguarding for future reinstatement of the railway.



Planning requirements

The Peak District National Park Local Development Framework and Core Strategy document, detail Policies affecting the trail.


Amongst other policies:


  • Core Policy T5 safeguards land and infrastructure for the reinstatement of the Matlock and Buxton Line.  Whilst the Policy does not imply 'in principle' support or acceptance of our proposals it is very clear regarding the safeguarding.


  • Core Policy T6 acknowledges that 'potential realignment of the Monsal Trail' will be required in the event of future rail use.  The Policy also states that any future trail will be safeguarded and where appropriate the existing trail will be used for walking, cycling and equestrian use until such time as a railway scheme is granted.

a suitable alternative

Whilst we do not underestimate the complexity in reprovisioning the Monsal Trail, we have already undertaken a detailed review of key design elements of the existing route, in the absence of any single specification document.


We have audited the route against these design elements, using the outputs to identify potential options for a reprovisioned trail.


We have set our own demanding trail specification which exceeds the quality of the existing trail.


We have also developed outline options although these require further detailed studies once the campaign is appropriately funded.  These studies would include an environmental impact assessment of the proposed trail.

Our Current Proposals




Our proposals for the alternative route for the trail are currently being developed by our ‘Trail Working Group’ working on options for key sections of the route.


Some of the more complicated sections have multiple options at this stage until we are able to establish a preferred option for the route.


The assessment has twenty-two seperate criteria in five categories, and was used as the basis for our reprovisioned trail specification.


Our specification seeks to improve the benefits the current trail offers including (but not limited to):


  • extending the current trail

  • improving the integration with other trails and footpaths

  • delivering the equivalent or increased number of clear sight lines of the surrounding areas

  • Increasing the number of access points categorised as 'access for all'

  • introducing eight new criteria for the trail

  • maximising the opportunities for local businesses to benefit from being on or near the trail









Proposed route options


The reprovisioned route is proposed to be broadly aligned to the current route, although the topography of the area presents a number of challenges in achieving an equivalent gradient profile.


However, the current route is not in fact level.  Indeed, it has some quite steep (for a railway) gradients but we are working on the principle of retaining and enabling an 'access for all' route.


We are also aware of the sensitivities around land ownership and the need for us to engage accordingly.  However, we are not yet resourced to proceed to that level of engagement at this time.


We will update this page when we are able to share more information on our proposals.