What we did at the weekend: The Monsal Trail and Monsal Dale Walk
The Monsal Trail and in particular, the Monsal Dale Walk in Derbyshire, are definitely some of our absolute favourite hiking trails.
Featuring peaceful riverside walks through the woods and a stunning waterfall reward for your effort, this walk is an ideal activity for a dry weekend.
What we did at the weekend:
The Monsal Dale Walk
Location: Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire
What is The Monsal Trail?
The Monsal Trail is a hiking trail in Derbyshire that is suitable for cycling, walking and horse riding.
It runs along the former Midland Railway line between Blackwell Mill and Coombs Road near the beautiful town of Bakewell.
The trail features riverside walks with stunning views over the Monsal Dale and four tunnels – the Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel, Chee Tor Tunnel.
Where is the Monsal Trail?
Located in Derbyshire just north of Bakewell, you can actually begin the trail at Bakewell Station Car Park.
There are however many starting points and end points to the Monsal Trail depending on how much walking you want to do and what you want to see.
The full Monsal Trail is around eight miles in length.
The Monsal Dale Walk from Ashford in the Water
Personally, we think that the Monsal Dale Walk is actually the better option because it provides the best eye candy and photo opportunities along the way.
This walk follows the Wye Valley along the River Wye, passing the famous Monsal Trail Waterfall, then takes you through the Deep Dale Nature Reserve and Great Shacklow Woods.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to some spectacular views.
Our version of this (approximately) 10 km circular route begins in the pretty little village of Ashford in the Water on Vicarage Lane.
You can usually get a parking space on this really steep and narrow lane – just make sure your handbrake works!
When on Vicarage Lane, head back down the hill and just before you get to the bottom there is a little path with steps leading upwards.
They are easily missed so we’ve included a shot from Google Maps below.
These instructions follows the exact same route that we usually take.
However, to be honest, you can’t really go that wrong with this trail.
The Monsal Trail Waterfall
There are some ‘money-shot’ moments on this walk but The Monsal Trail Waterfall or Monsal Dale Weir is probably the most memorable.
If you like your waterfalls (as we do), you have to see this one.
The first time you see it, you just have to say “wow.” It’s a great size, in a great location, easy for photographing, and looks great from upstream or downstream.
Definitely make a point of seeing it, if you are in the area.
Ashford in the Water
We thought to include a small mention for Ashford in the Water since it is such a beautiful village.
This pretty little former mining town is really popular with tourists and with good reason.
Its location ‘in the water’ and quaint limestone buildings makes Ashford extremely photogenic.
The tearooms and welcoming country pubs cater to the masses with good ale, good food, and friendly service.
At this point, we’re going to give a shout out to the Bulls Head here, which is a favourite of Ben’s.
This pub has been around since the 17th Century and has been frequented by him on a few occasions after a long walk.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Ashford however is The Sheepwash Bridge.
A Grade II Listed Building, the bridge gets its name from the practice of sheep dipping in yesteryear, where farmers would wash their sheeps’ fleece in the waters of the Wye.
Nowadays, it’s highly photographed basically because of its obvious prettiness.
Here’s a nice pic of it we saw on the Derbyshire Times website (much nicer than ours).