Following a successful first run in 2019, the service was paused in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, but will now operate over weekends and from Saturday, July 24, through to October 30, including the August Bank Holiday.
The Peak District National Park Authority has again partnered with Stagecoach to run the Explorer, which offers convenient links via bus and train to Sheffield, Manchester and Chesterfield.
Authority chairman Andrew McCloy said: “We’re delighted to be bringing back the Hope Valley Explorer, especially as so many people may be looking closer to home for days out and a holiday break this summer.
“The Explorer is a great car-free choice to discover a wonderful corner of the Peak District. 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 national park.”
The service runs between Chesterfield and Blue John Cavern in Castleton, via stops including Baslow, Calver, Fairholmes visitor centre, Bamford and Hope, plus the iconic sights of Winnats Pass, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge – but the route will no longer take in Edale.
As well as a flexible hop-on, hop-off service, the Explorer features an audio commentary on the rich natural and cultural history of the area, from its caves and wildlife, to the Derwent Valley Dambusters.
Larger capacity buses will be in use this year to allow more visitors to benefit and provide traveller confidence amid the ongoing uncertainties of the pandemic. In line with government guidance, passengers are being encouraged to continue wearing face coverings.
For the first time, rack space for two bikes will also now be available on board, on a first-come, first-served basis.
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 initial three-year pilot – funded by the park authority – has been extended to 2022 to assess the viability of running similar services long-term.
For more information, go to www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/hopevalleyexplorer or call the park customer services team on 01629 816200.