FOUR old railway tunnels are due to be opened by the end of the month to allow walkers, cyclists and horseriders to travel along a longer section of the Monsal Trail in the Peak District.
Final preparations are being made to lengthen the stretch of the trail open to the public from Bakewell to Wye Dale, three miles east of Buxton.
The work is part of the £2.25m Pedal Peak District project, which also includes a marketing campaign, to encourage more people to go cycling. Money is coming through the Department of Transport.
The tunnels being reopened are Headstone, Litton, Cressbrook and Chee Tor – all about 400m long and closed to trains when the Midland Railway Line, which connected the Peak District to London, was axed in 1968.
Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for Pedal Peak District, said: “It will be an amazing experience to go through the tunnels and see the fantastic views of the countryside as you come out.”
In the longer term, it is hoped to create a circular route linking Buxton, Matlock and Bakewell, but this would need funding and planning permission for the different sections of the route.
No exact date has been confirmed for the opening of the tunnels and the new stretch of the trail, taking it to 8.5 miles.
A Monsal Trail cycle hire centre is now open at Hassop Station near Bakewell, alongside a cafe, function room, giftshop, bookshop and car park.