Monsal trail ‘boosts Bakewell business’

The two Chee Tor tunnels on the Monsal Trail.
The two Chee Tor tunnels on the Monsal Trail.

A Bakewell businessman has criticised the town’s mayor for attacking the hugely successful Monsal cycle trail.

Richard Young, of The Original Farmers Market Shop, says the town has seen more trade since the old railway tunnels at Monsal were re-opened to extend the trail in a project led by the Peak District National Park Authority.

But last week, Bakewell Mayor Cllr Frank Hall said there should be a safety review of the trail.

“When I went up it was absolute chaos. Cyclists of all ages were cycling in all directions, there were walkers, people with dogs. The lighting in the tunnels is totally inadequate,” said Cllr Hall.

“The vast majority of cyclists were inconsiderate in the extreme.

“It’s possible that this is a passing craze as the tunnels have only just recently opened.

“I think it’s a wonderful development, but there needs to be some sort of supervision or education saying take care and be considerate.”

But Mr Young said cyclists were generally very behaved – and Bakewell Town Council should be doing more to attract their much-needed custom into Bakewell, which like all retail centres was suffering in the recession instead of complaining about it.

“I take my hat off to the Peak National Park Authority for it,” said Mr Young “It has brought people into Bakewell.

Last week, Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for the Monsal Tunnels re-opening, said: “The overwhelming majority of comments we have had from the public has been positive, expressing enjoyment of the new experience and views which were previously inaccessible.

“Quite a few people have also made constructive suggestions and they will certainly help as we assess improvements.

“The police are patrolling the trail on bikes and we have put warning signs at the entrances to the tunnels and at access points to the trails. We also have a code of conduct on our website.

“We also do not want to clutter the countryside with too many signs, but the situation should settle down as the months go on.”