The Best Guide to the Monsal Head Walk

The start of the Monsal Head Walk
The start of the Monsal Head Walk

What is the Monsal Head Walk?

The Monsal Head walk is a beautiful walk  in the Peak District, UK. It goes all the way from Bakewell to Wye Dale. It is an incredibly easy walk as it used to be an old railway line, which was closed in 1863 to link Manchester to London. It was then opened in 1981 as a lovely smooth pathed walk. Now if you were to do the walk from A-B it is roughly 8.5 miles and then back depending where you transport home is! This walk is absolutely beautiful and is possible for all ages, ability and in all weather! As it has a paved walkway means that even in rain it is still an easy walk which is great!

 Now when people think of  the Monsal Head walk and what is on the trail they will automatically think of the Monsal dale viaduct! As this is a beautiful stop for pictures, views across the valley with the river wye flowing underneath it’s central arch. It will honestly take your breath away! 

Why The Monsal Head Walk?

As I mentioned before this walk is suitable for all abilities, as the path is completely tarmacked and flat. Which makes it a really easy and peaceful walk through Peak District National Park, taking in some wonderful views, where you can see cows and sheep along the way and also being on an old railway line which is pretty fun! I particularly liked it as obviously with it being an old train line, there are some of the old platforms along your way! Where there have been flowers planted and you get to see how nature does just take over when left to its own devices. It’s amazing!

An old Station on the Monsal Head Walk
An old Station on the Monsal Head Walk

Getting out into nature and going on walks massively benefits my mental health. The fresh air, the scenery, the fewer people and just being able to be free completely eases my mind and makes me feel so much better. Therefore if you are having a particularly anxious day then this walk is perfect for you. It’s straightforward, requires very little effort and has a path to follow! As well as opportunities to take some great photos along the way!

It is also a great cycle route and a place where people go horse riding as well! Due to it having a wide path! If you’re like me and don’t own your own bike don’t worry there is a great place to rent them here with prices starting from £12 for adults and £8 for junior bike hires!

So how do I get to Monsal Head?

The easiest way without having to walk, get a train, walk some more, get a bus and walk some more before even starting your own trail is to drive. You would then drive out to Hassop station. Here there is a Cafe, restaurant, gift shop and a place to hire bikes! It has a huge car park so there are plenty of places to get parked ready to start your walk. As well as a chance to grab a drink or a snack. 

Alternatively you can start at Millers Dale Station and start the walk from the alternative end! There is a place here for you to get refreshments and toilets as well as well as plenty of parking spaces! 

Both of these car parks are pay and display with no overnight parking! 

The walk itself

I have done this walk many times as well as cycled it a fair few times as well. It really is a lovely Peak District walk. It can get quite busy on a sunny summer day. So be prepared for more people on these days. I have walked it in all weathers, as living in the UK you can’t always wait for a sunny day to get outside haha! As for those of you who have visited or live in the UK you might be aware that we can get all 4 bloody seasons in a day! 

But hey it’s part of our charm!

Now I was introduced to this walk from Hassop station and so this is where I will begin my guide to the Monsal Head walk. Once you have arrived at Hassop station head in front of the building to where the trail begins, turn right and start your journey. It’s honestly that simple to start this walk. 

Now you can do the full walk from Hassop Station to Miller Dale if you like, or you can start from either end head to the viaduct and head back. It totally depends on how far you want the walk to be. If I just want a short walk I will go from Hassop to the Viaduct and then turn back. This is roughly a 2 hour walk, depending on stops. I also choose to do it from Hassop station as you get to walk through the HUGE  headstone tunnel. You walk through this, huge, cool, light tunnel and open up into a beautiful viaduct with water running underneath you. It is absolutely breathtaking. Also coming from Hassop Station (should you just walk to the viaduct and back)  is where you will get the chance to walk through the old train station, on the platforms and see how beautiful nature and the locals have made it! YOu can also stop here for a picnic etc. There’s also loads of beautiful bridges that you can walk through, and some even have a short path you can walk up to go on top of them. The latter I only discovered on my most recent walk here and I have been doing this walk for years!

And that is another reason I love this walk because there are so many little paths going off that you can explore so much further if you want too. Find hidden gems, get close to the local wildlife, and get a real sense of adventure. Yet it is so easy to follow, there are no maps required, you just keep going straight until you get to the end or at a point where you’re wanting to turn back and then just do! 

No pressure, No stress just a nice easy, walk by yourself, with your partner, friends or as a family!

I really hope you enjoy this walk just as much as I do! 

Let’s get out there and see more of the world whether it is just in your neighbourhood or further afield! 

Because if I can do it then you certainly can and you will be amazing!

A Bridge on the Monsal Head Walk

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