Sunday, June 05, 2011

High Peak - Part Two

When we arrived in New Mills we parked close to the central station on station road near the river Goyt and walked along the riverside until we came to the Millennium Walkway.

As you walk along the path you pass the only surviving mill, the Torr Vale Mill, which has a wonderful position on the side of the river.  This mill held the record for the longest continuous textile production in the country having been a cotton mill for over 200 years when it closed in 2000.  A small part of the building still seems to be in some kind of use and there are plans for restoration.

The walkway  links the two parts of the Riverside park which now extends for two miles along the Goyt valley.  It is suspended on stilts and is attached to the retaining wall of the railway line which carries trains between Sheffield and Manchester.  It is also the final link of the Midshires Way a long distance footpath which runs between  Stockport and the Ridgeway * long distance walk in Buckinghamshire.

The views of the Torr Valley factory and the river are spectacular as you walk along with the trains passing by above.  You really get the feel here of the starts of the industrial revolution when the textile industry moved from being mainly home based to the new  factories placed so they could harness the power from the river water.

At the end of the walkway you find the ruins of Rock Valley Mill another of the mills built in the gorge where the Goyt and Sett rivers meet.  From here you can walk down to the start of the Sett Valley trail and another of the ruins of a former mill but we diverted up the steps towards the town centre and the Heritage centre.

The cobble stoned pathway gave rise to imaginings of all the mill workers making their way from the town to work at the mills; the sounds of the heavy shoes striking on the stones, their chattering voices the sounds of the mills working and of the other industries attached to them must have been tremendous. 

 Close to the top of the path, known as Rock Mill Lane,  and opposite the Heritage Centre is a viewing point over the valley of the tops of the factory buildings........

.......and of the railway line running above the walkway.

The Heritage Centre is very interesting and tells the story of New Mills as it grew around the mills in the valley and about the building of the railways across the gorge. It is free to go in and there is also an area for coffee and a lot of local tourist information too.
I was particularly taken with the model of the town below showing the working mills across the valleys of the Sett and Goyt rivers and the construction of  the Union road viaduct across the gorge.

Before return to the valley floor we had a walk around the town which, as well as covered and open markets,  has lots of little shops including a hardware shop, an old fashioned shoe shop with boxes up the walls, a wonderful second hand book shop and the place below which I spotted and have included a photo of as I know it will please one of my friends!

The national office of The Plain English Campaign.  I'm sure that they would probably find lots of faults with my babblings on this blog but then I've always been the master of the long sentence and it is very hard to change!

We wandered back down to the river valley to look at the viaducts,  the ruins of the Rock Vale Mill and the site of the new Torrs Hydro-Electricity Scheme so I'll  be back with part three of this visit.

* this walk runs from Avebury in Wiltshire and passes through Oxfordshire, Hertfordsshire and Berkshire on its way into Buckinghamshire.  The Midshires runs from Buckinghamshire through Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Great Manchester - wouldn't it be amazing to have the energy, time and rescources to walk them both together?  What wonders you would see on your travels!


  1. Long may these marvellous features of our heritage survive. What a fantastic walkway! x

  2. The walkway is wonderful! It is so lovely and green and lush around the mills now. I guess that wasn't always the case?

  3. Just looking for a free weekend in which I can do this great walk! I have been past on the train, I need to walk it. Thanks for the inspiration yet again Rosie. xxx

  4. I wish I lived near enough to go on this walk. It looks a fabulous walk.Thank you for sharing it. x

  5. Great - thanks! I was born in Stockport - OH and I might do this long-distance walk, in stages - been looking for a 'project'! Abby x

  6. What an interesting post. The walkway is wonderful. I would love to visit. In the absence of getting there, your post is the next best thing.

  7. Such beautiful photos ~ looks like a wonderful place to visit ~ thank you for the lovely tour! Love Brenda

  8. You do have some interesting walks near by. I love to learn about a place as I'm walking along, and it looks like there's plenty to discover along your trail today

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. I didn't realise that New Mills is so interesting. The Sheffield to Manchester train passes through there on one of the routes so one of these days I'll have to go and have a look round. I must confess that I've never noticed that walkway! Maybe Diane and I should get together on this:)

  10. that was lovely. So impressed with your visits. Love Helen, Darcy and Bingley

  11. What an interesting are for a walk. So rich in the industrial heritage of the area. It would be wonderful it the mill was restored. I know that when I visited Salts' Mill in Saltaire, they had done a fabulous job of restoration and given the mill a new lease of life as the Hockney Gallery and artisans selling their creations.

    Marie x

  12. Hi Rosie,

    I haven't commented on this post as blogger keeps refusing to load photos for me so I can't see them! I'm sure they're lovely, I'll just have to imagine them!

    I just stopped by to say thanks for your comment. When I sat in your living room, I thought this day was a long time off if it would ever happen! I'm so relieved that something has finally changed and this will provide much better opportunities for the future together!

    The jobs are an issue but things always turn out ok in the end and we can manage until that changes too!

    Thanks for your good wishes!