A section of railway, eventually forming part of a main line link between London and Manchester, was opened on the 30th May 1863. Built by the Midland, it cut a route through the limestone landscape of Derbyshire's Wye Valley between Hassop and Buxton, demanding eight tunnels, two major viaducts and a number of smaller ones in the space of just 11 miles. But it did not live long. Barely a century after it opened, most of the route became a victim of the Beeching-era cuts, officially closing on 1st July 1968.
In 1981, the Peak District National Park Authority concluded lengthy negotiations with British Rail to secure the trackbed. Along it was laid the Monsal Trail, a nine mile path linking Blackwell Mill Junction, east of Buxton, with a bridge over Coombs Road on the Matlock side of Bakewell. Since the summer of 2011, four of the tunnels (which had previously been closed for safety reasons) have been opened up for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to use, creating an easy linear connection between the Trail's two ends.
The easternmost tunnel called Headstone, is the longest at 533 yards. Its eastern approach cutting has near vertical sides and the special designation of a geological SSSI thanks to its distinctive rock strata.
Location: Headstone Tunnel, Peak District