Great Places to Explore Along the Monsal Trail

by Rebecca Watkins

Monsal Trail map

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to do on a lovely sunny bank holiday, I would highly recommend exploring the Monsal Trail and the great stops along the way. Not only is it a relatively flat trail, making it nice and easy to walk or cycle, but the tunnels also provide a cool respite on a hot day.

In total, the trail is around 18 miles long (nine miles each way). You can start from either end of the Monsal Trail, but as my boyfriend lives in Bakewell, we started from that end.

The very start of the trail is on Coombs Road. There is a fairly steep slope up to the start, so it is best to walk up this instead of cycling.

1. Visiting Bakewell

Setting off from the Coombs Road end of the Monsal Trail, the first major stop is Bakewell Station, 0.9 miles in. There is not much here apart from a car park, but it is ideal if you are driving here to start your walk/cycle, and you can detour into Bakewell if you fancy.

A sign marks the departure from the Monsal Trail to Bakewell, where a dog enjoys watching the ducks by the river.

In Bakewell, you can take a walk along the river or look around the shops. My cocker spaniel Oscar loves to watch the ducks by the river.

Bakewell is also home to the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop and a variety of traditional pubs. A few I would recommend are The Manners, The Woodyard and The Rutland Arms. However, If you’d prefer a more laid-back lunch, you cannot go wrong with fish and chips by the river.

Bakewell often hold events at their showground, including dog shows and seasonal festivals, so it might be nice to visit here after your walk along the trail. I went to the Bakewell Baking Festival back in 2017 and I would highly recommend it. There were lots of stalls selling sweet treats, as well as live demonstrations from previous Great British Bake-off contestants.

2. Hassop Station Café

One mile further along the trail, you will reach Hassop Station Café. This is the ideal place to stop for some lunch either on the way out or on the way back along the trail. They have a nice, varied menu and you can sit indoors or outdoors depending on the weather.

Meals on the table at the Hassop Station Cafe, including a toastie, a burger and a pizza.

My boyfriend and I have been many times and we love it. As you can see from the photos, the burger is a staple choice! However, please bear in mind that the café can get very busy.

There is also a cycle hire centre here and a gift shop worth a gander.

3. Great Longstone

Roughly 1.3 miles after Hassop Station, you pass Great Longstone. If you fancy a pub lunch, you can turn off the trail here and head to the White Lion or The Crispin in Great Longstone. 

4. Monsal Dale Headstone Viaduct

Around one mile further along the trail, you reach Monsal Dale Headstone Viaduct. This is a wonderful place to stop for a rest and to take in the views of Monsal Dale and the River Wye.

There are walks surrounding the viaduct, which can be quite steep and more challenging than the Monsal Trail. However, they allow you to walk alongside the river and to see the Monsal Weir Waterfall.

You can also take a detour off the trail to the Monsal Head Pub. From here, there are spectacular views of the viaduct itself.


A flat grit cyclepath, busy with cyclists, in countryside surroundings on the Monsal Trail.

5. Miller’s Dale

Miller’s Dale is the next big stop, approximately three miles after the viaduct.

This is another perfect place to stop for lunch if you have brought your own, or there is a nice café — The Refreshment Room — as well as public toilets.

There is a path leading off the trail to Miller’s Dale Quarry. This is a nature reserve and is lovely to visit in the summer when the plants and flowers are in full bloom, attracting beautiful wildlife.

The Final Stretch

After approximately 1.9 miles, you reach Blackwell Mill, Chee Dale, and the end of the trail! Now you just have to re-trace your steps and do it all over again to get back to the start. There are also lots of smaller footpaths branching off the trail to explore, best done on foot.

Happy walking/cycling!

For cyclists looking to expand their journey along the Monsal Trail into a jaunt over a long weekend, we offer circular rides extending the route onto the Tissington Trail and more on our White Peak Leisure cycling holidays.

Originally published 15/06/22

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