Four tunnels on the trail will eventually be opened to walkers and cyclists. Photo: Alan Walker CC-BY-SA-2.0

Four tunnels on the trail will eventually be opened to walkers and cyclists. Photo: Alan Walker CC-BY-SA-2.0

A further section of a national park walking and cycling trail will be closed from this week to allow construction work on the route.

Walkers are warned that the Monsal Trail in the Peak District will be inaccessible between Millers Dale and Blackwell Mill from today as part of a scheme to allow walkers and cyclists to use four disused railway tunnels.

Work on the trail between Monsal Head and Upperdale was closed in early February and will remain out of action until the end of March. The second closure will also run to the end of March. The Peak District National Park Authority said the nearby Pennine Bridleway would not be affected.

The work is being carried out as part of the £2¼m Pedal Peak District project, aimed at getting more people to go cycling in the national park. When complete, the trail will allow walkers, cyclists and horse riders to follow a route through the old railway tunnels.

The work is scheduled to be completed in May or June this year.

Rhonda Pursglove, project manager for Pedal Peak District, said: “We are sorry for the temporary disruption but I’m sure people will realise it is worth it when the end result will bring a much better route for people to enjoy in the future.

“It will be an amazing experience to go through the tunnels and see the fantastic views of the countryside as you come out.

“We are looking forward to completing the work so that cyclists, walkers and horse riders can experience that feeling for the first time since the tunnels closed in 1968.”

The authority said the bridleway from Brushfield to Netherdale, approached from the western end of Monsal Head Viaduct, remains open but will continue to have contractors checking to ensure the public can cross safely.

The Monsal Trail from Millers Dale to Litton Mill will be open as usual but users should be aware heavy plant and machinery are using the route to bring materials and equipment to the site.

Access for vehicles at Millers Dale Old Station car park will also be severely restricted during the works as the majority of it will be used for construction traffic.

Warning signs have been put up at points on the Monsal Trail to explain the work taking place. Local cycling, walking and horse riding groups have also been informed.

The trail is built on the route of the former Midland Railway line which connected the Peak District to London, and was axed in 1968.