Part of a popular walking and cycling route through the Peak District National Park is to be closed for up to six weeks while work is undertaken to reopen four former railway tunnels.
Once the work has been completed, the tunnels will be opened to cyclists, walkers and horse riders, helping improve the existing Monsal Trail between Bakewell and Wye Dale, built on the route of the former Midland Railway Line, which closed in 1968.
The works form part of the £2.25 million Pedal Peak District project, which has also seen the launch of a marketing campaign to get more people cycling in the national park.
The section of the route affected by the works, from Upperdale to Monsal Head, will be closed from next Monday 7 February until mid-March, with the temporary closure due to the presence of heavy plant needed to carry out the works.
The bridleway from Brushfield to Netherdale will stay open, with contractors’ staff checking to ensure that members of the public can cross it safely, and all other parts of the Monsal Trail will remain open, with users asked to be vigilant regarding the potential presence of contractors’ vehicles.
Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for Pedal Peak District, said: “It is 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.”
She added: “We are sorry for the disruption the work will create 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.”
Warning signs are being erected to alert people to the works taking place, and groups representing local cyclists, walkers and horse riders have also been kept abreast of developments.
The new route through the railway tunnels is due to be opened in May or June this year.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.