Monsal Head is a well-known walking spot for locals and visitors and part of the walk takes in the Monsal Trail which runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road near Bakewell.
Starting from Monsal Head Hotel and you have two options for parking. You can park behind the hotel for a fee or if you are lucky you can park across the road on Butts Road like i did. there are only limited spaces on Butts Road so you would have to arrive early to take advantage.
From the Hotel walk down Butts Road towards Little Longstone Village and once you reach the village you will see a way marker on your right, pass through the gate and across the field until you reach the dry-stone wall. Follow the dry-stone wall to your left until you reach a stile that will take you on to the Monsal Trail.
Once on the trail follow it to the right as if you are walking back on yourself, this will lead you through the Headstone Tunnel which is around 400 meters long and once you exit the tunnel you will be faced with the viaduct. Walk across the viaduct and take in some of the views of the River Wye and the valley it cuts through.
Once you cross the viaduct there is a stile/gate immediately on your left which points to Bushyfield. Go through this and take a diagonal right up the path. this will lead you up to Putwell Hill which then levels out on to Bushyfield Lane. You will have some good views of the surrounding areas from this vantage point but be careful underfoot, i was dodging puddles that were at least 3 meters in length due to the recent weather.
You will then see a marker on your left that will take you down and through Bushyfield Hough Farm and another marker that is marked with white paint at the farm leading you down into a wood that leads to the River Wye. At the river turn left so it is on your right and side and walk the banks back towards the viaduct. Halfway back to the viaduct there is a weir type waterfall that is a good stopping point for pictures or something to eat.
After the waterfall keep walking where the viaduct will come back into view, but only this time you will be looking up at it. About two hundred yards before the viaduct take the path on the left back up towards the viaduct and you will be back at the same stile/gate that you passed through on your way up to Busyfield. Cross the viaduct and take your left up the steep path that will lead you out on to the front car park of Monsal Head Hotel. That is the end of the walk but the views are rather impressive from this vantage point.