Tuesday, 12 September 2017

'A' Walk from Bakewell 2017

Walk leader:Steve Edwards
Walk Distance: 11 Miles app
Total Height Gain: 1685ft app

The Monsal Trail and Monsal Dale

The Monsal Trail uses part of the former Midland Railway Line through the Peak District National Park. It runs for eight and a half miles between Blackwell Mill Junction at Wyedale, three miles east of Buxton, and Coombs Viaduct, one mile south-east of Bakewell. We enjoy it for about 3 miles.

We start our walk from the coach park and head up the steep road towards the former Bakewell Station and onto the trail. Although the railway line closed in 1968 the station building is well preserved and now functions as the headquarters for a local business. We make our way behind the station and set off west along the trail.

As a former railway line the trail is completely flat and the good quality surface to the path allows us to make good progress with the biggest decision of the day being whether to stop at the magnificent coffee shop situated at Hassop Station, less than a mile into the walk that serves great bacon baps.

We continue along the disused railway track and onwards to the now opened Headstone tunnel immediately prior to the Monsal Viaduct.

From the viaduct, we leave the flat walking and follow the banks of the river Wye past the weir.

We continue through wooded terrain to where the path crosses the main A6 road from Bakewell to Buxton. Once across this road there is a small picnic area, but we don’t stop, instead pushing on towards the toughest section of the entire walk.

This brief section south of the A6 begins with a steady climb before reaching a stream, which may be bone dry, or a raging torrent depending on the weather. We walk up the stream for about 10 metres before reaching a stile. Once across the stile the path becomes ever steeper until we reached a stone wall where the path divides. We head uphill on a path which is relatively short but can present a real challenge if wet under foot.

In the top field, we will find a suitable spot for lunch or continue across rolling farmland to the village of Sheldon, which is a very picturesque little place boasting an enticing looking pub called ‘The Cock and Pullet’. Heading out of Sheldon we return to farmland paths towards our next landmark on the horizon - Magpie Mine. This was one of the most famous lead mines in the Peak District up until its closure in 1952 and today is something of a heritage attraction.

After the mine, we head towards a short section of quiet public roads continuing downhill all the way to Over Haddon and onward into Bakewell.
If we maintain a good pace we should be back in Bakewell in plenty of time for tea and tart.

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