29th May, 2018
The opening up of the complete Monsal Trail through the tunnels of Chee Dale has allowed much easier access to the delights of this leafy dale. In the past the trip down to the stepping stones and through the narrow part of the dale was a great walk, but a bit long for most families since you needed to go back over the top via Blackwell. The new version allows quick return through the tunnels which also provide excitement and interest to tempt reluctant youngsters out for a weekend walk.
The walk is suitable for a quick afternoon at most times of year and can be considered relatively easy in terms of length and strenuousness. However the terrain is quite tricky for very small legs so make sure younger children are confident and watch them carefully on the short rocky sections. It is a there and back lollipop walk with several points of interest on the way, plus a short-cut alternative should time or desire wain before you finish. The Monsal Trail has become very popular with bikers hence the section on the actual trail does mean that you have to watch your back a bit and watch the little ones, however the bikes seldom go that fast and most are aware of what is going on ahead of them.
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Distance: 3.10 miles (5 km)
Total ascent: 121m
Steepest Gradient: 10% (1 in 10)
Time: 1:30 – 2 hours (Walking)
The old station car park at Miller's Dale which is signed from the B6049, SK137734
The Chee Dale path is almost always muddy although the worst sections are no covered by boardwalk sections. There are some rocky sections and the walk is definitely best avoided after very heavy rain when the stepping stones will be submerged.
In summer Chee Dale is often a cool retreat and the mud is not as bad. Spring and Autumn mean some mud but this isn't a major problem. In the winter it makes a good sheltered walk from cold winds and the mud is less of a problem when frozen although the rocky sections might be very tricky if iced up.As mentioned, avoid after heavy rain.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: Peak District & Yorkshire Dales – Met Office: Peak District
There are a number of bus services between Buxton and Sheffield, Chesterfield and Castleton that stop at Millers Dale. They tend to run a few times a day so check online for details.
OS Explorer OL24 (1:25,000), Harvey/BMC Dark Peak (1:40,000), OS Landranger 119 (1:50,000) Directory Listings:
Buxton (01298 25106); Matlock (01629 583388); Macclesfield (01625 504 114)
by Alan James - UKC and UKH