Peak District visitors can once again enjoy some of the National Park's most spectacular views and attractions while leaving the car at home as the Hope Valley Explorer seasonal bus route returns for a third year.
The popular service, which has carried almost 4,500 passengers during its first two years of operation in 2019 and 2021, will once again feature a larger capacity bus and the chance for cyclists to store their bikes whilst travelling.
With cost of living pressures for many putting a strain on the opportunity to enjoy a family day out on a budget, on-board day tickets for the route have been maintained at 2019 prices for this year’s season, which runs across weekends and bank holidays from May 14 to 3 September.
The Peak District National Park has again partnered with regional operators Stagecoach to offer the service which takes in the Upper Derwent Valley (Fairholmes), Bamford, Castleton and Hope plus nearby attractions, with onward links via bus and train to Sheffield, Manchester and Chesterfield.
The service also returns as the Hope Valley Climate Action group recently encouraged people to #UseTheBus during a dedicated campaign in April in a bid to reduce car use within this popular part of the Peak District. The group - who are aiming to make the Hope Valley a national beacon for sustainable travel - are also awaiting news on their ‘Travelling Light’ project, which is currently being considered by the Department for Transport.
A three-year pilot scheme, the Hope Valley Explorer looks to reduce the number of car journeys within the National Park during its busiest season and the school summer and autumn holidays, with thousands of car journeys thought to have been taken off busy Peak District roads already as a result of the service.
As well as a flexible hop-on, hop-off option, the Explorer continues to feature an audio commentary of the rich natural and cultural history of the area; from its extensive cave network and wildlife, to the Dambusters of the Derwent Valley. Iconic locations like Winnats Pass, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge will all be available to enjoy from the route.
Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "As we continue to look back on what the Peak District has meant to millions of people over the last 70 years since its formation, I’m glad that we’re also looking forward to how we can ensure future visits are both enjoyable, sustainable and easy on often strained pockets in these challenging times.
“The route takes in some of the most spectacular corners of the Peak District with something for everyone from iconic heather-clad uplands to the subterranean world of Castleton’s caves.
"With onward bus links and the chance to join via train from Sheffield and Manchester along the route, the Explorer is a great car-free choice.
"Our continuing aim is to support a reduction in private car journeys in these areas and help promote more sustainable ways of getting to, and enjoying, the UK’s first ever National Park."
The Explorer service has been supported in 2022 by Derbyshire Dales District Council.
Further information is available at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/hopevalleyexplorer or by post by calling Peak District National Park customer services team on 01629 816200.