Record numbers of people enjoying National Park ‘multi-user’ trails following lockdown

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Outdoor lovers have been flocking to National Parks after the easing of lockdown.

Since the government lifted the ban in May, traffic-free trails in the Peak District National Park have seen a significant increase on previous years in the numbers of people using them.The National Park Authority reports that, this summer, the Monsal, Tissington and High Peak Trails have experienced an uplift of almost a third more visitors on some of their busiest days compared to 2019.On the Monsal Trail, the busiest July day this year attracted almost 4,000 visits, compared just over 3,000 during July in 2019. Overall, visits to the Monsal Trail across July doubled from 1,100 each day on average last year, to over 2,000 per day this summer.

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The most well-known traffic-free trails are mainly former railway lines. They offer accessible, family-friendly recreational routes for walking, cycling and horse riding and vary in length, upto ten miles.The trails are popular with wheelchair-users because of the flat surfaces and gentle gradients and there is the added benefit of an accessible range of bikes to hire at Parsley Hay, for use on the High Peak and Tissington trails.

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Cyclists at Parsley HayCyclists at Parsley Hay
Cyclists at Parsley Hay

Disability users also contacted the park during the lockdown to request use of the trails with their own equipment when facilities such as gyms and physiotherapy centres remain closed.

Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “As green arteries twisting and turning through some of the most stunning Peak District landscapes, it is no surprise that our multi-user trails have also helped to breathe life into our recovery from the effects of Covid-19.

“Alongside the obvious health and wellbeing benefits of these routes, their appeal to visitors of all ages also helps to support our local tourism businesses as they get back on their feet after an unprecedented summer.

“As many of us continue to embrace the outdoors and places like our trails as we step through our lives alongside the coronavirus, I would ask that everyone continues to ‘share with care’ along these valued routes and respect the hard work of National Park rangers and others taking care of them.”

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