Mayor hits out at Monsal ‘chaos’

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The mayor of Bakewell has hit out at ‘chaos’ at the newly opened tunnels on the Monsal Trail – and called for a safety review.

Cllr Frank Hall said that he was worried about the safety of visitors to the recently reopened railway tunnels.

He said: “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.

“The vast majority of cyclists were inconsiderate in the extreme. They weren’t using their bells or lights. There’s definitely a need for some sort of evaluation of safety at the Monsal Trail.

“It’s possible that this is a passing craze as the tunnels have only just recently opened. There will be a lot of people go once and don’t go again.

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

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.

“One or two have criticised some users for “lack of trail etiquette”, one used the phrase “careless idiots on bikes” and others have pointed out dog-owners who persist in letting their dogs roam free or on a long lead – dangerous for both dogs and humans on a trail used by cyclists, walkers and horse-riders.

“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.

“The trail has been hugely popular since the tunnels opened in May, and it is difficult to control some people’s inconsiderate behaviour.

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

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