Silver cycling in the Peak District and the Monsal Trail


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It’s never too late to start a new hobby or get fit.  Even for the less active, hiring an electric bike in the Peak District National Park is a great way to enjoy the countryside.

On the traffic free Monsal Trail you can have a great day out.  From Hassop Station on the Monsal Trail you can hire electric bikes (book in advance) and the pedal assist makes for effortless cruising. My husband and I enjoyed setting the speed and level of assistance on the bikes, which are easy to use and ideally suited to leisure users.

The bikes have an upright position offering the most comfort for cycling and even come with a handy basket to carry your essentials for the trip.  They are heavier than a conventional bike because of the battery, but you can start in gear and with power assistance and once going they feel lighter and easy to pedal.

There is plenty of parking at Hassop Station plus once you have enjoyed a power assisted cycle the Hassop Station Café serves a delicious range of home-made food including locally sourced produce. There’s even a sun terrace, covered outdoor area, bookshop and gift area.

So if you want a silver biking day out in some glorious traffic free countryside, why not try hiring an electric bike in the Peak District?

The Monsal Trail tunnels are open for cycling, walking and horse riding, offering one of the most spectacular leisure routes in Britain. It is the first time the public have been able to go through the tunnels since the former Midland Railway Line closed in 1968.

It follows a section of the former Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway built by the Midland Railway in 1863 to link Manchester with London. The line was closed in 1968 by the Labour Minister for Transport Barbara Castle and remained unused for 12 years before being taken over by the Peak District National Park.

Bikers, walkers and horse riders can now follow the original railway line route from Chee Dale (outside Buxton) to Bakewell, a length of 8.5 miles. It runs through some of the Peak District’s loveliest limestone dales and there are four tunnels about 400 m longs.  These are lit during normal daylight hours.
Some of the things to do and see along the rail include: wildlife, geology, industrial and rail heritage, including the Monsal Viaduct, Cressbrook Mill and Litton Mill and the lime kilns at Millers Dale.  There are various information signs along the route.

Monsal Memories is a series of six 10-minute podcasts about people who worked on, lived by or travelled on the former Midland Railway which ran through the heart of the Peak District national park from 1863 to 1968. You can listen to these at various points along the Monsal Trail.

Places to stop and visit on the Monsal Trail:

  • Chee Dale - a splendid winding gorge, flanked by limestone cliffs sometimes towering 300ft above the path, sometimes overhanging it.
  • The spa town of Buxton  is home to the Buxton Opera House designed and built by Frank Matcham one of Britain’s finest architects in 1903 as well as The Pavillion Gardens and some lovely boutique shops.
  • The bustling market town of is home of the famous Bakewell pudding, there is good quality shopping in cobbled courtyards as well as an idyllic setting on the banks of the River Wye.

More about Wendy

Visit Peaks holiday cottages are owned and managed by Wendy Boast.  Wendy and her family have been going to the Peak District for 30 years and have detailed knowledge of the area and things to do.  Wendy can help tailor make a family holiday, activity holiday or leisure break.  Wendy stays in both her cottages on a regular basis with friends and family to make sure that everything is in place for a welcoming break in the Peak District. 

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • keithydee
    over 7 years ago
    Thanks for the blog, a great read,
    Monsal is a great trail, it is however very short at just over 8 miles long if you are a keen cyclist it wont take long and there are lots of pedestrians, which, particularly at the weekends, means plenty of navigating around people. Going through the tunnels is a blast!
    The high peak and Tissington trails are quieter and longer and are equally well serviced. Theses are all supposed to be linked eventually making a full 64 mile circuit.
    Each one has its own attractions and all go through the lovely Derbyshire countryside making a great day out whether on bike or foot.
  • ESW
    over 8 years ago
    One of the great things about the railway trails in the Peak District is that you know there won't be any steep climbs on them!