Protecting the Monsal Trail’s Victorian heritage

Work to safeguard the future of some of the Peak District National Park’s imposing Victorian viaducts and bridges will begin next week.

Specialist contractors will be taking a closer look at major structures on the Monsal Trail, one of the most popular destinations for walkers and cyclists in the UK’s first National Park. The trail follows the route of the former Midland Railway and relies on the original 150-year-old viaducts, bridges and tunnels.

Experts from Total Access UK will use rope and harness techniques originally developed by rock climbers and cavers to check their condition and make recommendations for any work required, as well as removing vegetation which could be causing damage.

It is estimated that more than £2m will need to be spent on structures on the trails over the next six years and to help raise the money a major family fundraising event, Walk in the Park, will be held along the Monsal Trail and at Bakewell Showground on 19-21 August. Supporters can choose to walk 5, 8 or 16 miles on Saturday 20 August and there is also the option to camp for the weekend at Bakewell Showground – the venue for a wide range of activities.

Monsal Viaduct, Millers Dale Junction Viaduct, Chee Tor Bridge and Millers Dale Viaduct will be inspected during May and June.

All will undergo Principal Inspections, which require an engineer to be within touching distance of every part of the structure. It is thought to be the most detailed examination carried out since the Peak District National Park Authority opened up the Monsal Trail for recreation in 1981. The trail will remain open to the public throughout the inspections.

Emma Stone, trails manager at the Peak District National Park, said: “We carried out a general inspection last year which highlighted the need for us to take a closer look at some of the larger viaducts and bridges.

“These inspections are a starting point. We want to ensure the structures are in excellent  condition to make sure they are there for future generations to enjoy, but we  need as many people as possible to help fund our trails by signing up for a sponsored Walk in the Park.

“As well as the walks on 20 August, there’s lots going on over the whole weekend for all the family, and we hope anyone who has ever enjoyed walking, cycling or riding along any of the trails will come along and help us to preserve these important features of our cultural heritage.’’

For more information on Walk in the Park, visit

For more information on the Peak District National Park’s traffic-free trails, visit

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