OS Grid ref:- SJ995855
The small town of New Mills, a former mill town, is situated in the Peak District National Park, near to the Derbyshire-Cheshire border and is around 8 miles (13 km) to the south-east of Stockport. The name derives from a corn-mill, which was built on the banks of the River Sett in the area in 1391. By the late sixteenth century the name seems to have been applied to the hamlet that grew up round the mill. The town's first industry for coal mining, and later cotton spinning. The town centre has been designated a Conservation Area.
The Torrs Millenium Walkway
New Mills is situated on the confluence of the Rivers Goyt and Sett. The dramatic Torrs, 'the Park under the Town' is a 30 metre deep sandstone gorge through which the Rivers Goyt and Sett flow, The winding gorge was cut by glacial melt water. The hydro-electric plant at the Torrs is Britainís first community owned and run hydro-electric scheme, built on the site of a former mill. The Torrs path links with the Sett Valley Trail along the old railway track to Hayfield and the Goyt Way, a long distance route linking the Manchester conurbation with the Goyt Valley and the Peak District National Park.
The Millenium Walkway and the Torrs Riverside Park
The stunning Torrs Millennium Walkway an 175-yard aerial walkway in the gorge, was built at a cost of £525,000 and spans the otherwise inaccessible cliff wall which rises steeply above the River Goyt. The shining steel walkway takes the visitor over the largest weir on the Goyt. The steep gradient of the river with its waterfalls and cascades led to the the construction of weirs and leats and the provision of water power. Several mills were built along the gorge, the first of these was Torr Vale Mill, which still stands today.
New Mills Heritage Centre, housed in a characterful stone building, stands at the top of one of the paths leading down into the Torrs. Exhibits include fixed display areas telling the "New Mills story" and a unique model of the town in 1884 with an accompanying sound and light commentary. The Centre offers a selction of light refreshments, trail guides, walking books and maps, local history publications, gifts and souvenirs. Opposite the gate into the Centre is the viewing platform and from here you can look down on the Millennium Walkway. The Trespass Trail, starts at the Heritage Centre. The trail commemorates the 1932 mass trespass of Kinder, a major catalyst to the creation of today's national parks. The circular trail follows much of the original route taken by the trespassers.
The Union Bridge and the remains of one of the old mills at the Torrs
The 94 foot (29 metre) high Union Road Bridge spans the centre of the gorge, it was built in 1884, the stone used in its construction came from The Torrs itself.
The Peak Forest Canal, which was constructed between 1794 and 1804, linked the town with Manchester. One of Cheshire's most scenic waterways, runs for 15 miles between Ashton under Lyne, east of Manchester, and Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire. The lower Peak Forest Canal forms part of the Cheshire Ring, linking the Macclesfield Canal with the Ashton Canal.
Nearby places of interest
Kinder Scout, a moorland plateau, rising to 636 metres (2,087 ft) which is highest point in the Peak District.
Lyme Park is situated in a spectacular moorland setting at Disley near Stockport on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The house and surrounding estate are owned by the National Trust. The lavishly decorated Italianate house has spectacular seventeen acre gardens, which include the Victorian Garden and Edwardian rose garden.
Mellor Iron Age Fort Iron Age settlement discovered in the 1990's, occupied from the Bronze Age to the Romano-British period, featuring a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse.
Dunge Valley Gardens are situated just to the west of Windgather Rocks and are well worth a visit, especially in April and May when the rhododendron's are in bloom.