Heading West from the Derbyshire town of Bakewell and following the valley of the Wye River for approximately 8.5 miles, the Monsal Trail is a fairly new feature. The Trail was opened in May 2011, so it has only been in existence for a couple of years.
This outing was only going to be a quick visit. I'd gone with a walking buddy with plans for us to return in the Summer for a longer walk.
The viaduct at Monsal Head crosses the River Wye. We headed west, away from the Headstone Tunnel. The river flows under the viaduct and then flows to your right as you head west.
There is clear evidence in the valley of firstly, the forces of the industrial revolution. To some people, this may have some positive value, to others, a negative value.
Secondly, there are signs of the forces of nature. It's pretty evident which has the most dramatic impact. Unless of course you find man's destructive impact on the countryside positive.
A positive sign is the Monsal Trail itself. An most importantly, it's source as a form of education. There are, dotted along the Trail, wind-up audio units that have multiple sound tracks explaining the history of the railway line, the surrounding area and the Monsal Trail. Well worth checking out, and a nice idea for them to be wind-up.
We had to be careful in the tunnels, the cold weather and damp conditions meant there were icicles in the tunnels. This may not seem too much of an issue, but some of them, by our estimations, were in the region of at least a meter long. And there were icicles falling down, one missing myself by only a few feet
We decided to head up onto the tops to the south around Miller's Dale. Up here there were still the odd patch of snow. On the way up we took a stop at one of the Lime Kilns, now just dips in the ground, for a break. It allowed us to get out of the cold breeze and have a good drink.
And the views down to the River Wye were quite dramatic, although it isn't as clear in the photographs. It was quite a cloudy, gloomy day.
Our chosen route took us back down to the viaduct at Monsal Head.
We took a walk through Headstone Tunnel and then doubled back through Great Longstone and Little Longstone.
We will be back again, with a longer walk in mind.
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