Monsal Dale

“There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the Vale of Tempe… You Enterprised a Railroad through the valley – you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange – you Fools everywhere”.

So wrote John Ruskin that highly privileged Victorian writer, poet, art critic, watercolourist and general social thinker when the Midland Railway Company built Derby to Manchester line through the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. Their viaduct across Monsal Dale was arguably the most impressive in Britain and used extensively in their marketing.
I must have seen (or at least heard) trains on the railway in the 60s for I spent many a time at Monsal Head camping with my parents, the railway far beneath me. But it rings no bells. The line closed in 1968 and is now a well maintained and very popular cycleway and walking trail.
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