Modern Chinley is a large busy village with many stone-built Victorian buildings. It is situated just on the western edge of the Peak District National Park. It is a good base for exploration of the western side of the Peak District and for walks up onto Kinder and its outlying hills.
View of Chinley and Cracken Edge
The area around the village was part of the Royal Forest of the Peak and there was probably little but a few isolated farms here until the 17th century. The oldest building in the area is the Elizabethan hall built at the nearby hamlet of Whitehough by the Kyrke family at the end of the 16th century and now the Old Hall Inn, but some farms along Stubbins Lane are also quite old and in 1711 Charles Wesley was entertained at Chinley End Farm, which still stands in Lower Lane.
In fact Wesley was a regular visitor here and preached often at nearby Chapel Milton, for the area was a hotbed of early Nonconformism. Perhaps one reason why he came was because Chinley was also the home of Grace Murray (later the wife of Charles Bennet, another famous preacher), who is said to be the only woman Wesley loved and would have wished to marry.
The New Chapel
The industrial revolution came to the Chinley area and brought the construction of three mills along the Blackbrook which runs through the village. These were followed in 1799 by the Peak Forest tramway, a crude railway which used horse-drawn wagons to carry stone from the quarries at Dove Holes to the canal at nearby Bugsworth basin. The arrival of the railway in 1867 and its later extension in 1901 to carry trains to Sheffield saw Chinley grow rapidly and in the early years of the 20th century it was an important railway junction and a regular stopping-point for trainloads of ramblers at weekends. The modern village contains many houses from this era, built out of stone quarried from nearby Cracken Edge for wealthy commuters who took the train to Manchester every morning. The railway is still an important connection from Chinley to the wider rail network.
The centre of the village has some shops and there is a pub at nearby Whitehough. Chinley is beautifully situated with plenty of walking close at hand and a walk up Chinley Churn or Cracken Edge gives an excellent view across the area.
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for a slide show
0 - Chinley Chapel
1 - Chinley Chapel interior
2 - Chapel-en-le-Frith church
3 - Chapel-en-le-Frith cottages
4 - Chapel-en-le-Frith market cross
5 - Chapel-en-le-Frith stocks
6 - Chapel-en-le-Frith Hearse House
7 - Chinley Farm
8 - Chinley with Cracken Edge behind
9 - Chinley - Whitehough Old Hall
10 - Chinley shops
11 - Combs and Combs Edge view from Eccles Pike
12 - Chinley and Chinley Churn from Eccles Pike
13 - Chapel-en-le-Frith from Eccles Pike
Overlooked by Kinder Scout, Hayfield is an old village which was once a staging post on the pack-horse route across the Pennines from Cheshire to Yorkshire. The old pack-horse route went from here the up the Sett valley and over the watershed at Edale Cross (where the old stump of a cross still exists) and descended Jacob's Ladder into Edale. The age of the settlement can be seen from the old cottages which survive around the centre of the old village, and some of the farms around here date from the late 17th century.
In the 19th century cotton arrived followed by the railway and Hayfield grew enormously so it now straggles down the Sett valley and merges into Birch Vale and New Mills. However the old centre of the village, to the east of the main road which cuts the village in two, is really quite charming, with a fine church and lots of old cottages. It is also packed with amenities for the visitor with pubs, shops and cafes.
The main importance of Hayfield for the visitor is that it is the gateway to the west side of Kinder and the narrow road which leads off the side of the Royal Hotel takes you in that direction. On the way it passes another pub, the Sportsman, before arriving at Bowden Bridge quarry, the starting point for the famous 'Mass Trespass' and now a car park with public toilets and a small Peak Park camp site opposite.
The road to Glossop takes you via Little Hayfield, a small hamlet about 1km north of the main village. The mill here survives, though it has been converted into flats, and the pub here is called The Lantern Pike after the sharply pointed hill which overshadows the place. It's well worth an ascent - the view is excellent.
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0 - Kinder Scout from Hayfield reservoir
1 - Hayfield from Mount Famine
2 - Hayfield view from Hollinworth Head
3 - Hayfield cottages alongside the River Sett
4 - Hayfield - mass trespass plaque
5 - New Mills view from Ollersett Moor
6 - Birch Vale print workers cottages
7 - Hayfield from Lantern Pike
8 - Little Hayfield and Kinder Scout from Lantern Pike
9 - Hayfield War Memorial and Royal Inn
Rowarth is a tiny village situated high on the hillside above New Mills in the north west of the Peak District, though it is most easily reached from Mellor or Marple Bridge as the roads from New Mills are rather circuitous.
The village dates essentially from the 1780s, when at least six watermills were constructed along the stream which runs through here. The mills span cotton or made candlewick and some operated until the early 20th century. Their legacy is some pretty stone-built workers' cottages in the centre of the village, plus Atherton House (dated 1787), which was a mill-owner's house, and the Little Mill Inn, a former mill which is now a pub.
Alongside the Little Mill Inn is a working waterwheel, which is usually turning. The original (and the building which housed it) was destroyed by a great flood in 1930, and the current wheel is a reconstruction.
About 2km to the north is Cown Edge, with fine views over Glossop and Manchester and best accessed from the A624 Hayfield-Glossop road, and just to the west of this is Robin Hood's Picking Rods - an enigmatic pair of dressed stones set in a crude stone base. Nobody has any clear idea what this monument is but the stones bear some similarities to the Bowstones above Lyme Park and to Cleulow Cross in Cheshire, which are Mercian or Norse boundary stones or crosses, so the Picking Rods could be something similar.
Between Rowarth and Hayfield is Lantern Pike, a prominent hill now in the ownership of the National Trust. This offers an excellent viewpoint over the Sett Valley, Hayfield, Kinder Scout and northwards.
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0 - Hayfield view from Hollinworth Head
1 - Hayfield cottages alongside the River Sett
2 - Robin Hoods Picking Rods near Cown Edge
3 - Hayfield from Lantern Pike
4 - Little Hayfield and Kinder Scout from Lantern Pike
5 - Rowarth
6 - Rowarth - restored mill wheel
Whaley Bridge is a former mill village centred around the River Goyt, which runs through the village. Until recently the village was dominated by a dyeworks, which provided the main local employment but this closed in the late 1990s.
Whaley Bridge first came to prominence as the terminus of the High Peak Canal - built at the end of the 18th century to carry limestone from the quarries above Chapel-en-le-Frith to Manchester and beyond. This was originally serviced by the High Peak Tramway - a primitive railway built in the 1780s which linked the quarries at Dove Holes with the main canal basin at nearby Buxworth. The Tramway was an interesting piece of engineering, comprising several fairly level sections with steep 'inclined planes' in between them. Horses pulled wagons full of stone along the level sections, and on the inclined planes there were stationary steam engines to haul the wagons up and down.
The Cromford and High Peak Railway opened in 1830 and linked Whaley Bridge with Buxton and then across the White Peak to Cromford. This unique railway crossed some formidable terrain with steep inclines and used a mixture of stationary engines hauling wagons up steep inclines, like that at High peak Junction south of Cromford, with normal sections of railway track in between. Rather similar in principle to the earlier High Peak Tramway.
The railway brought stone from the quarries above Buxton down to the canal at Whaley Bridge but turned out not to be viable so it shut before the end of the 19th century.
The railway linking Buxton to Manchester was constructed in the 1870s and passed through Whaley Bridge, bringing improved communications and boom conditions to this and other settlements along the line, with a rapid expansion of the local textile industry as well as the possibility of commuting to Manchester. Most of the buildings of the village date from this period.
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0 - Bugsworth Canal Basin
1 - Bugsworth Canal Basin
2 - Bugsworth Canal Basin
3 - Bugsworth - Navigation Inn
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