9 Monsal Trail Walks in the Peak District

Signpost near Cressbrook Tunnel

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The Monsal Trail walk is one of those popular trails that everyone has heard of in the Peak District. And with good reason, it’s a fantastic walk with lots of interesting things to see on the route.

The best things about the Monsal Trail is that it’s easy to navigate, it’s well signposted and it has good terrain which means the route is accessible for everyone!

However, as a linear walk at 9 miles long it’s not always that practical to complete the trail in one go. And to walk retuning to the same point would make it an 18-mile walk (maybe not for everyone!)

We have included 9 different length walks, you can either complete the Monsal Trail in full or there are options for shorter walks to do sections of the trail, so you can still walk the full trail but over 2 to 4 days. Also four walks incorporate the small sections of the Monsal Trail within the route where you get to explore beneath the trail too! Please note there is a mix of accessible and non-accessible walks, details included for each one.

Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk at the various locations, route information, Ordnance Survey map links, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve done any of the Monsal Trail and what you think!

Monsal Trail walks from Bakewell to Wyedale (Buxton)

Monsal Trail
Looking down on the Monsal Trail path

The Monsal Trail is an old railway line, turned into a walking and cycling trail for everyone to enjoy. The Monsal Trail is an accessible route, whilst means that wheelchair users can enjoy the trail. Two of our shorter Monsal Trail walks are accessible for all, one route you can miss a section to make it accessible and the last walk isn’t accessible due to the start location at Monsal Head. See notes on each walk. 

The trail has plenty of history along with way with six tunnels that you can walk through, lime kilns and the impressive viaduct at Monsal Head, which was built in 1863, at over 300 foot long it’s one of the most impressive viaducts in Britain.

Walk information

Walk type: Medium or long linear walk

Distance: 9 miles/14.6 km or (18 miles/29.2 km)

Walk time: 4-5 hours

Total ascent: 464 m/1,522 ft

Highest point: 292 m/958 ft

Walk highlights: Historic features of the railway line, including tunnels, viaducts and bridges across the trail, Lime Kilns and the old stations on the trail

Trig points: 0

Stiles: 0

Accessible walk: Yes

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Monsal Trail walk map

Monsal Trail map (full trail) Peak District
Monsal Trail map (full trail)
Click for online map

Walk start point

To complete the full Monsal Trail the best option for parking at the start is street parking on Coombs Road, Bakewell, DE45 1AR then for the finish there’s a (pay and display) car park at Wye Dale, off the A6, Buxton, SK17 9TE, about 800 m from the end of the Monsal Trail at Chee Dale.

Shorter routes

Here are the three (pay and display) car parks for the starting locations of the other walks below:

Bakewell Station car park, Station Road, Bakewell, DE45 1GE – Google location

Monsal Head car park, Ashford in the Water, Bakewell,  DE45 1NL – Google location

Miller’s Dale car park, Wormhill, Buxton, SK17 8SN – Google location

Bakewell Station car park

Bakewell Station + Miller’s Dale parking costs

  • Up to 1 hour = £1.40
  • 1-2 hours = £2.50 
  • 2-4 hours = £4.00
  • All day = £4.75

Monsal Head parking costs

  • Up to 1 hour = £1.50
  • 1-2 hours = £2.50
  • 2-3 hours = £3.80
  • 3-4 hours = £5.00
  • All day = £6.00
  • Evening parking from 6 pm to 8 pm £1.00

Facilities on the walk

There are public toilets available at the start of the walks at Monsal Head car park and Miller’s Dale car park. There are no toilets near the official start/end of the trail at Coombs Road, Bakewell and the Wyedale car park.

Miller's Dale station on Monsal Trail
Cafe and toilets at Miller’s Dale station on Monsal Trail

Other useful information

The Monsal Trail tunnels are lit but they are still fairly dark when walking through them.

Please note that the Monsal Trail is a common trail that cyclists use so please take take of other users on the walk.

Please keep the Peak District beautiful and respect everyone who uses the park. Take ALL your rubbish home to dispose of and remember close gates (as you found them). Thank you so much.

Would you know what to do in an emergency situation?

Blue skies, Mountain rescue team walking

We have a guide with what to do, who you need to call and also some useful kit that should be in your backpack. Ask us any questions in the comments or via our social media.

Happy hiking + stay safe

read here

Peak District weather

Check the weather for your walk location and hills. It’s often good to check a few resources.

Ordnance Survey walk map

The map required for this walk is the Ordnance Survey OL24 – Peak District (White Peak Area). Check prices here with Ordnance Survey or Amazon. If you’re hiking in all weathers the Active OS maps are pretty good to have.

View both Peak District map options here.

And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition or the Silva Classic compass.

For online maps, I recommend OS Online App (I have been using for 3+ years and worth getting if you want to start walking more). Check prices here for the one month or yearly option with OS Online App. All the walks on the website are created using OS Online + you can download them to the App. 

See both maps that cover the Peak District here.

Monsal Trail walking routes

Here we have created shorter Monsal Trail walks so you can pick the route that works for you. Due to the trail being linear these walks start and finish at the same place, which means out and back routes.

These walks are saved in order that you could potentially complete the trail from start at Bakewell to finish at Wyedale, Buxton. There is a 2-mile, 4-mile and two 7-mile walks, which you can combine or walk individually.

Walk option 1 – Bakewell Station to Coombs Road, Bakewell (end/start of the trail)

Bakewell Station
Bakewell Station on the Monsal Trail

Distance: 1.8 miles/2.9 km

Total ascent: 29 m

Walk time: 45 mins to 1 hour

Tunnels: 0

Viaducts: 0

Accessible walk: Yes

Route instructions – From Bakewell Station car park, walk past the building then turn right and follow the trail all the way to the end, you’ll see a signpost so you literally can’t walk any further. Turn around and walk back to the start.

Monsal Trail signpost
Monsal Trail – The End!

This section of the walk is quieter than other parts of the trail, if you want to extend your walk you can simply head off in the other direction from Bakewell Station for the length of walk you choose.

Find the walk route map here – Ordnance Survey map

Walk option 2 – Bakewell Station to Monsal Head

Bridge on Monsal Trail
Monsal Trail walking towards Monsal Head

Distance: 7.4 mile/11.9 km

Total ascent: 249 m

Walk time: 2 to 3 hours

Tunnels: 1

Viaducts: 1

Accessible walk: Yes (up to Monsal Viaduct) – see note below 

Route instructions – From Hassop station car park the Monsal Trail is around the back of the old station building. Turn left and follow the trail! As you near halfway point near the Monsal Viaduct, you’ll first go through the only tunnel on the walk, called Headstone Tunnel.

Once you’re out of the tunnel, walk across the Viaduct, enjoying the views down to the River Wye below. Then turn left through a gate signposted to Public Bridleway to Brushfield, the path heads downhill then you switchback and head towards a narrow gap next to a gate which is where you’ll go under the Monsal Trail.

Headstone Tunnel Monsal Trail
Headstone Tunnel near Monsal Head

Follow the path alongside the river to the footbridge, go over then walk past the buildings and turn right to head uphill to Monsal Head. At the fingerpost sign (Monsal Trail) you can opt to turn right and head down the path back to the Monsal Trail to return you walk back to the start. Or you can head up to Monsal Head, where there’s a pub, cafe and toilets.

Please note the loop that heads up to Monsal Head would not be accessible for everyone due to the terrain, the narrow gap and footbridge.

Find the walk route map here – Ordnance Survey map

Walk option 3 – Monsal Head to Miller’s Dale

River Wye and trees
Views from the Monsal Viaduct on Monsal Trail

Distance: 6.6 mile/10.6 km

Total ascent: 454 m

Walk time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

Tunnels: 2

Viaducts: 1

Accessible walk: No

Beginning your walk above the Monsal Trail at Monsal Head is a fantastic way to start your walk. As you head down you get to see the iconic Viaduct which crosses the River Wye.

Route instructions – From Monsal Head car park, turn right at the signpost (Upperdale + Monsal Viaduct) and walk down the path. After a short distance you’ll reach another signpost, turn left here, following the sign for Viaduct & Monsal Trail.

Walk down here and you’ll reach the Monsal Trail next to the Headstone Tunnel. For this route, turn right and go across the viaduct and continue walking until you reach Miller’s Dale station. 

Miller's Dale station on Monsal Trail
Miller’s Dale station on Monsal Trail

There’s a cafe and toilets here, as well as car parking. Then simply turn around and return via the same route.

Please note the terrain and footpath from Monsal Head is steep and rocky so it would not be accessible for everyone.

Find the walk route map here – Ordnance Survey map

Walk option 4 – Miller’s Dale to Chee Dale

Lime Kilns on the Monsal Trail

Distance: 3.6 mile/5.8 km

Total ascent: 191 m

Walk time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Tunnels: 2

Viaducts: 3

Accessible walk: Yes

Route instructions – From Miller’s Dale car park, head out the car park from the far left, this takes you round the old station which is fantastic to look at, plus it’s where the toilets are located too! 

Green trees and edge of viaduct
Views whilst crossing the viaduct

You’ll head over a viaduct, crossing the River Wye, straight after you’ll go through the Chee Tor Tunnel, shortly followed by a second, known as the Chee Tor Tunnel 2. Towards the end you’ll go across a viaduct with beautiful views down to Chee Dale (see our Chee Dale walk at the end of this post).

The trail ends just after the viaduct, where there’s also a small cafe and bike hire shop.

Find the walk route map here – Ordnance Survey map

More Monsal Trail walk options

As well as the above options for walking the Monsal Trail we have some walks on the website that include small sections of the Monsal Trail, the great thing about these routes is that they are circular walks so you’re not repeating any part of the walk.

These walks do require more navigation since you’re not just walking on the Monsal Trail but we have a detailed guide for each walk, simply click the link to take you to the route guide.

Chee Dale + Monsal Trail

Chee Dale Stepping Stones walk
Chee Dale Stepping Stones walk

Distance: 5 mile/8 km

Total ascent: 358 m

Walk time: 2-3 hours

Accessible walk: No

This route begins at Miller’s Dale and starts on the Monsal Trail; however you’re not walking on it for long before you head down to the River Wye and follow the trail along to Chee Dale.

You’ll have a great perspective of above and below the Monsal Trail with this route and it also includes some fun stepping stones to cross to so it’s an adventurous route. 

There are two options for the second half of the walk, you can head above the Monsal Trail or simply pick it up and follow it back to the start.

View the full walk route + guide hereChee Dale + Monsal Trail walk

Tideswell Dale, Millers Dale + Monsal Trail

Signpost near Cressbrook Tunnel
Signpost near Cressbrook Tunnel on the Monsal Trail

Distance: 6.6 mile/10.6 km

Total ascent: 481 m

Walk time: 3-4 hours

Accessible walk: No

This route begins in Tideswell Dale and initially follows the River Wye via Miller’s Dale to Cressbrook. You then head up to pick up the Monsal Trail, this walk is designed to take you on a quieter walk so instead of following the trail you explore the footpaths above and below; however you can stick to the trail if you prefer.

View the full walk route + guide here Tideswell Dale, Miller’s Dale + Monsal Trail

Monsal Head short loop

Under the Monsal Viaduct
Walking under the Monsal Viaduct

Distance: 1.5 mile/2.5 km

Total ascent: 126 m

Walk time: 45 mins – 1 hour

Accessible walk: No

This short loop is included in a couple of the routes above, but if you’re short of time this is a lovely route where you can explore above and below the Monsal Trail, as well as seeing the impressive Monsal Viaduct too!

View the full walk route + guide hereMonsal Head short walk

Magpie Mine + Monsal Dale

Magpie Mine in the Peak District
Magpie Mine near Bakewell

Distance: 7.8 mile/12.6 km

Total ascent: 445 m

Walk time: 3-4 hours

Accessible walk: No

This route only includes a short section of the Monsal Trail, close to the Monsal Head section of the trail, but it’s a beautiful walk and if you love a mix of scenery this might be perfect for you.

It begins in Ashford-in-the-Water and first you head away up to explore the old lead mine, known as Magpie Mine. From here you loop down to Monsal Dale before then picking up the Monsal Trail at the viaduct and the Headstone Tunnel. The final section of the walk takes you off the trail and back across fields to the start point.

View the full walk route + guide hereMagpie Mine and Monsal Dale walk

Ask me questions about the Monsal Trail in the comments below.

Other information

More walks in the Peak District

Love the walks near Bakewell? You might like these Peak District circular walks.

Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here

View walks directory here

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