I’m always amazed at how feats of great engineering can still take my breath away. Especially when you can get up really close and blow your mind at the grand scale of it all. Monsal Head in Derbyshire’s Peak District is one of those places you can do just that.
Old railway tracks, bridges and canals, once ferriers of great industry, impressively span and navigate the most beautiful valley. In the 1870s John Ruskin campaigned against their construction because of the damage it would do to the environment simply ‘so that any fool from Bakewell can be in Buxton by lunchtime’. So I imagine he’d be happy today to see Monsal Dale as green as can be, free of engines, noise and smoke; a local beauty spot enjoyed by all.
Old railway tracks are now walkable cycle paths, while ramblers follow the banks of the canals. We always park at the top (the views command to be appreciated), then chose a path. You can walk down to the viaduct and across the grand structure. Depending on your fancy, you can head to Buxton or Bakewell.
Or take the path that heads down under the viaduct and along the dale, which is a beautiful gentle walk and stunning at any time of the year. We opted to walk a circular path, so headed under the viaduct first then across the dale and back over again.
Monsal Dale is situated just off the B6465 which joins the A6 at Ashford.
Images by Nina Nixon
What: Bicycle Rides, Escape & Explore, Great Views, Green Spaces, Nature & Wildlife, Observe & Ponder, Scenic Walks, See & Do
Who with: Canine Companion, Family, Friends, Just Me, Kids, The One I Love
When: Autumn, Christmas, Early Morning, Evening, Lazy Sundays, Rainy Day, Spring, Summer, Sunset, Weekdays, Weekends, Winter