CYCLISTS in the Peak District may have to find alternative routes from today – as a section of the Monsal Trail is being temporarily closed to allow work to be carried out to reopen four disused railway tunnels.
The Peak District National Park Authority is in the process of improving the trail between Bakewell and Wye Dale, by opening the tunnels for cyclists, walkers and horse riders to use, as part of the £2.25m Pedal Peak District project.
A section of the Monsal Trail between Upperdale and Monsal Head was closed in early February and will remain shut until the end of next month.
And, from today, a further section of the trail from Millers Dale to Blackwell Mill will also be closed.
That will also remain until the end of March but will not affect the nearby Pennine bridleway.
Access for vehicles at Millers Dale Old Station car park will be “severely restricted” as most of the car park will be used for construction traffic.
Although the Monsal Trail from Millers Dale to Litton will be open as usual, heavy plant machinery is using the route to bring materials and equipment to the site.
The project manager for Pedal Peak District, Rhonda Pursglove, said: “We are sorry for the temporary disruption but I’m sure people will realise it is worth it when the end result will bring a much better route for people to enjoy in the future.
“It will be an amazing experience to go through the tunnels and see the fantastic views of the countryside as you come out.
“We are looking forward to completing the work so that cyclists, walkers and horse riders can experience that feeling for the first time since the tunnels closed in 1968.”
The new route through the former railway tunnels is expected to open to the public in May or June this year.
The Monsal Trail is built on the route of the former Midland Railway line, that was axed in 1968.