The Hope Valley Explorer summer bus service will return to the Peak District from Saturday 24th July.
Following a successful pilot season in 2019, the service was paused during the Covid-19 restrictions of 2020 but will now operate from 24th July to 30th October this year.
The Peak District National Park has again partnered with regional operators Stagecoach to offer the service across weekends and bank holidays throughout the summer, with onward links via bus and train to Sheffield, Manchester and Chesterfield.
Although the route will no longer take in Edale, larger capacity buses will be in use to allow more visitors to benefit from the service and provide traveller confidence following the impacts of Covid-19.
In line with government guidance, Stagecoach and the National Park Authority are encouraging people to continue wearing face coverings when using the service.
For the first time, space for two bikes will also be available on the service – via racks – on a first-come, first-served basis.
Stagecoach and the Peak District National Park have also confirmed that ticket prices have been frozen at 2019 rates – starting at £4 for a single journey and including £6 return and a £12 family ticket. Some additional Stagecoach passes also apply.
The Hope Valley Explorer aims to reduce the number of car journeys within the National Park during its busiest season and the school summer and autumn holidays.
As well as a flexible hop-on, hop-off service, 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.
The route will include key stops at Castleton, Hope and Fairholmes visitor centre in the Derwent Valley. Iconic locations like Winnats Pass, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge will all be available to enjoy from the route.
The initial three-year, seasonal pilot scheme (now extended to 2022) – funded by the National Park Authority – will assess the viability of running similar services long-term, to help ease pressure from private vehicles in the National Park and support linked sustainable transport by the use of rail services.
Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing back the Hope Valley Explorer with our partner operators Stagecoach this summer, especially as so many people may be looking closer to home for days out and a holiday break.
“That’s why we’ve worked to provide increased capacity across the service in 2021, which we’re pleased will run through until the October half term.
“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 to discover a wonderful corner of the Peak District this year.
“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.”
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.