CYCLISTS, walkers and horse riders out to enjoy the Monsal Trail this winter are being urged to check the tunnels website before setting out to make sure the tunnels are open.
The website to check for up to date information on the tunnels is www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/monsaltrail
The Peak District National Park Authority, which owns and manages the Monsal Trail, may have to close the tunnels at very short notice over the winter for safety reasons.
The tunnels and tunnel entrances are being monitored daily and checked for ice, icicles and any maintenance issues that the cold, wet weather may cause.
If the tunnel conditions become unsafe due to the bad weather, the website will be updated and ‘Tunnels Closed’ signs will be placed on the trail at Bakewell station, Hassop station, Great Longstone station, Millers Dale station and at Wyedale. Gates will be locked at the tunnel entrances.
Project manager Rhonda Pursglove said: “We want people to check the website before they travel to make sure the tunnels are open. We don’t want people to be disappointed if they arrive and find them closed.”
However, even if the tunnels are closed, several over-ground stretches of the Monsal Trail will remain open as usual:
• 3.5 miles from Headstone tunnel along the trail to Great Longstone station, Hassop station, Bakewell station and Coombs Road viaduct;
• The Monsal Head viaduct will be accessible to walkers along the paths from Monsal Head and Upperdale.
• 2.5 miles from Millers Dale through to Blackwell Mill and Wyedale.
The shorter daylight hours of winter means that the lights in the Headstone, Cressbrook, Litton and Chee Tor No.1 tunnels are switched off earlier in the day – around 4.30pm.
Rhonda explained: “The best advice is to carry a torch or use bicycle lights if you use the Monsal Trail in the late afternoon in case you get caught out.”
The four longer tunnels are lit during daylight hours, from dawn to dusk, to make them safe to use. They operate on a daylight sensor so in winter, with the shorter days, the lights switch off earlier.
From Monday December 12 to Friday December 16 routine maintenance work will be carried out on the lighting in the four lit tunnels. The tunnels will remain open during this time but visitors must observe the safety notices on site. Check the website to keep up to date www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/monsaltrail