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Monsal Trail voted UK's favourite cycle route

This is an archived press release

Monday 7 September 2015

Cycling on the Monsal TrailThe Monsal Trail in the Peak District National Park has been voted the UK’s favourite National Cycle Network route under 30 miles.

And the Trans-Pennine Trail, which runs from Southport to Hornsea and crosses the Peak District National Park through the Longdendale Valley, was chosen as the top long-distance route in the poll by Sustrans, the transport charity.

The Monsal Trail is a traffic-free, easily accessible route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders through some of the Peak District's most spectacular limestone dales. The trail is owned and maintained by the Peak District National Park Authority.

It runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale, and Coombs Road, at Bakewell. Most of the route was opened to the public in 1981 but four former railway tunnels had to remain closed for safety reasons, with public footpaths taking people around them. In 2011 the four tunnels – Headstone, Cressbrook, Litton and Chee Tor – opened for trail users. Each is about 400 metres long and is lit during normal daylight hours. Two shorter tunnels – Chee Tor No 2 and Rusher Cutting – already formed part of the Monsal Trail.

Matt Burton, manager at the YHA Ravenstor, who backed the trail during the voting, said: “The Monsal Trail is the most beautiful cycle route in the Peak District in my opinion with views of the impressive limestone Dales, beautiful wild flowers along the terraces that flank either side and the fascinating engineering structures that you pass along the eight and a half mile route.”

Emma Stone, trails manager for the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “Over 100,000 people enjoy the Monsal Trail every year so I am pleased that it’s received this recognition. We have an important task on our hands to keep all of the viaducts, tunnels and bridges in a good state of repair and keep the trail alive so that future generations can experience its rich beauty and heritage.”

The Trans-Pennine Trail incorporates the Longdendale Trail in the north of the national park, a 6.5-mile route from Hadfield to the Woodhead Tunnel, following the route of the Manchester to Sheffield railway line that closed in 1981. The scenic route follows the narrow valley next to Torside and Woodhead reservoirs flanked by high moorland on both sides.

The Peak District National Park also owns and maintains the Tissington, High Peak and Thornhill trails. For further information visit our traffic-free trails section

The poll was carried out as part of celebrations to mark the 20th birthday of the National Cycle Network, which was first developed by Sustrans in 1995 and now covers over 14,000 miles in the UK. Sustrans is a leading UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bicyle or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day.

Find out more about the impact of the National Cycle Network

This is an archived press release

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