Running the Monsal Trail – Peak District

We’re on holiday this week in the beautiful Peak District. With so much of the past year spent staying very close to home in London, it feels incredibly freeing to be here amongst the rolling hills and limestone dales – so much fresh air and wide open space!

I ALWAYS make sure to pack my running kit whenever I’m staying away from home and usually manage to pop out for a few quick early morning runs before we head out for the day. This time however, we came up with a plan to get the whole family involved – a cycling trip with me running alongside the children. It sounded like a potential win-win, but would it work out? We would see!

Our venue of choice was the Monsal Trail – a 8.5 mile stretch of former railway linking Bakewell and Chee Dale. The route is mostly flat, ideal for cycling (and my running to be fair) and very scenic. Hassop station cafe has a very convenient and efficient bike hire place right on the trail. It also serves as the starting point for Bakewell parkrun, sadly not running at the moment, but must be a wonderful parkrun location.

We set off on our little adventure, the boys merrily pootling along with me running alongside. After a few km, the trail suddenly disappeared into a long tunnel with a beautifully smooth tarmac path, giving the boys a chance to speed off ahead and really test my sprinting skills! After 400 metres in the dim light the path then suddenly burst out onto a rewarding sight – the Headstone Viaduct (below). You could easily imagine the sight of the steam trains powering through here in 1866 when the line first opened.

With two small children, we never intended to tackle the whole 17 mile out-and-back route in one visit and so stopped for a food break and to turn around at the site of a former platform, now overgrown with wildflowers. I was really pleased with how well the children’s natural cycling speed matched up with my running. I imagine there is something of a window of opportunity, child and running skills dependent, before you can no longer keep up! In fact, it turned out to be a very enjoyable training session for me, kind of a ‘surprise interval’ session where the children would either ride steadily, stop dead to look at something, or shoot off as fast as they could with very little warning. All in, we covered just under 7 miles, and all definitely felt we had earned our cakes back at the cafe. The me of a few years ago would never have dreamt of being able to join in with something like this, so I’m really glad to be able to share these lovely active little adventures with my kids.

Happy holidays to you all, have you packed your running shoes on any trips this summer? Or taken the opportunity to try out any new parkruns while you are away? Wishing you all a lovely end to the summer x

One thought on “Running the Monsal Trail – Peak District

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  1. It looks like a lovely place to run/cycle in 🙂
    That’s a shame about Bakewell parkrun not coming back just yet- hopefully it will do soon? My home parkrun (Ellenbrook Fields) has not had permission, so I’ve been a bit homeless. Luckily (?) it’s coincided with the school holidays, so I’ve done a bit of tourism here and there.


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