Experts have felled 25 trees on the High Peak Trail.
Derbyshire County Council’s countryside service said it was necessary to cut down the trees along the route – but the decision has sparked criticism.
A council spokesman said: “We obviously recognise trees form a very important role in our landscape and in ecology. However, there are some locations where trees need to be managed and felled.
“We fell trees for a number of reasons and it is always carried out by experts and only where necessary.
“The High Peak Trail is a manmade structure and in the area around the National Stone Centre the route is set on a high embankment supported on dry stone retaining walls.
“A total of 25 small ash trees have been felled here as they were blocking beautiful views down the Ecclesbourne Valley and casting shadow on grassland flora which cannot thrive in the increasing shade.
“A larger ash tree has already caused damage to a retaining wall which will need a costly repair. We want to reduce the chance of further damage.”
Derbyshire resident Janice Byron is opposed to the felling of the trees.
She said: “I feel there is a pressing reason to leave the trees alone: our bird populations are sadly declining, a major factor being loss of habitat.
“Trees have already been felled along the Cromford Canal. Why?
“We need to recognise that trees fulfill a vital role in the ecology of the countryside.
“They certainly enhance it.
“I hope that there will be a change of policy in Derbyshire.”
The council spokesman added: “Where we have carried out tree felling work on the High Peak Trail and Cromford Canal there are trees and woodlands close by providing nesting, roosting and feeding habitats for wildlife. The tree felling work will have direct benefit on the flowers and plants.”
The High Peak Trail is a 17-mile route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders in the Peak District.
It runs from Dowlow near Buxton to High Peak Junction near Cromford.