This is an archived press release
Tuesday 20 May 2014
Visitors this summer can once more see the famous Monsal viaduct in its full glory, thanks to volunteer rangers who cut back nine years of ash and blackthorn growth.
Thousands of visitors come each year to Monsal Head, near Bakewell, to enjoy the view of the Headstone Viaduct which strides across the limestone landscape of Monsal Dale.
But until earlier this year they increasingly had to peer through branches of ash and blackthorn which have grown profusely up the valley sides since they were last cut in 2005.
The Peak District National Park Authority brought in tree contractors for a short time, but when funds ran out the Peak Park Midweek Ranger volunteers stepped into the breach before the bird-nesting season.
Over four days, using mostly hand-tools, they cut, dragged and burned the coppice wood, fuelled only by tea and cake.
Area ranger Pete Bush said: “We received lots of compliments from visitors and only one complaint from a resident who was not keen to see any tree removal from the valley. He needn’t worry too much, because ash is valuable indigenous stock, no stumps were poisoned and the job will come up again in nine years’ time. Hopefully by then we will be able to utilise a good portion of what is cut.
“The result is an open view and a path to the viaduct that is easier to negotiate.”
The land is leased by the Authority from the Chatsworth Estate. Natural England had to give agreement for the work to be done as the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its wildlife habitats.
The Headstone Viaduct is part of the Monsal Trail, used by thousands of walkers, cyclists and horse-riders each year. A former Victorian railway route, its old railway tunnels were re-opened in 2011.