Linking rail to trail - new £1m boost for Peak cycling project

This is an archived press release

Monday 9 November 2009

09 November 2009

Linking rail to trail - new £1m boost for Peak cycling project

Four old railway tunnels could be re-opened as part of a £3.785m new cycle trail across the Peak District National Park between Matlock and Buxton rail stations.

The Department of Transport has just announced a £1m contribution to the proposed Buxton to Bakewell section, which includes re-opening four 400m tunnels for cyclists, walkers and horse-riders on the Monsal Trail. The tunnels were closed when the rail route was axed in the late 1960s.

It would mean that visitors can arrive by train and cycle into the heart of the national park, or that residents can cycle to the station to commute into nearby cities.

Cycling England - an independent expert body funded by the Department of Transport - has already pledged £1.25m to the project to make cycling a realistic, healthy alternative to the car for work and leisure.

It chose the Peak District to pilot extending its innovative Cycling Towns and Cities concept into the countryside as 32 per cent of the UK population lives within 60 miles of the area and it already has a 58-mile network of cycle trails and cycle-hire centres.

The Peak District National Park Authority, which would manage the project, is seeking other funding partners including Derbyshire County Council. The cycleway would use existing trails wherever possible, linked up by road sections - exact routes are still being finalised with the county council.

The Authority’s services committee will consider the detailed business case later this month (Nov). If approved, work will start in early 2010.

It would create, for the first time, a high-quality, linked rail and cycle route from the cities of the North West (via Buxton) and the Midlands (via Matlock) into the heart of the national park.

It would also link up existing cycle trails along the former railway routes of the Monsal, High Peak and Tissington Trails. And the national park’s main town of Bakewell and outlying villages would have designated cycling routes to access the trails.

National Park director of operations Richard Campen said: “The Authority and Cycling England are delighted that the Department of Transport has committed a further £1m to this exciting project.

“It will create both a spectacular cycling route and a realistic alternative to the car, enabling more people to make healthy choices for themselves and for the environment.

“It will also benefit local tourism businesses with rail and cycle-based travel packages.

“The Peak District is the most accessible place to unwind for millions of people in nearby cities. With the cycle trail they can get fit, save fuel and enjoy some of the best scenery in the country.”

At present some 85 per cent of visitors to the White Peak (southern and central Peak District) arrive by car, compared to 1 per cent who cycle.

This is an archived press release

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