Monsal Dale Viaduct

(Photo 7 © Deego, photo 9 © D D Brumhead/

Built by the Midland Railway in the 1860s, the viaduct’s name seems to change with the seasons - some call it ‘Headstone’, others know it as ‘Monsal Head’, ‘Monsal Dale’ or just plain ‘Monsal’.

Leading culture critic John Ruskin thought it was a hideous blot on the landscape, commenting that “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.”

Following slippage of the structure, significant remedial work took place in 1907. It’s five arches have a 50-foot span, contributing to an overall length of 300 feet. The track sat 74 feet above the River Wye.

It 1970, a Grade II listing was placed on it and, since 1980, The Monsal Trail footpath has been accommodated on its deck.
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Jan 10

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