Above: A Google Earth satellite image of Tunnel Farm at bottom right. I’ve superimposed the orange line to show the route of the tunnel into the valley.
Many thanks to Mary on the Burbage Facebook Group for posting these two photos she found on ebay. They show the southern end of the tunnel on the Cromford and High Peak Railway being blocked off – probably in the early 1960s.
The tunnel was the longest on the 33-mile route which connected important canals in Cromford and Whaley Bridge. The line opened in 1831 and was a triumph of Victorian engineering.
The section through the tunnel into the Goyt Valley was closed in 1892 when an easier route via Buxton was opened which didn’t require wagons to be hauled up and down steep inclines. (Today’s main route into the valley from the Long Hill road was the longest incline on the track.)
Above: Patrick on the Goyt Valley Facebook Group posted this photo of the northern end of the tunnel showing the access door open and said he’d walked from one end to the other.
Asked how he managed it, Patrick explained: “…believe it or not, it was open. We walked to the end of the tunnel and as we walked back the workmen turned up and they said they’d forgotten to lock it. It was BT checking cables – good job we didn’t get locked in as it’s a fair way to the other end!”.
A number of walks on this website pass this end of the tunnel; 9 Buxton to Errwood), 10 (Old Goyt’s Lane), 12 (Cromford & High Peak Railway), 21 (Buxton to Goyt Valley) & 27 (Railway track short circular). There’s also one of Joe Brown’s Numbers carved nearby.
I’d love to see it reopened – like the tunnels on the Monsal Trail. But we’d first have to win our fight to have the track leading to the southern end made a public right of way (view details). And even then it would be very far from easy. I can’t see it happening – more’s the pity.