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Peak District Towns and Villages: New Mills
Villages around New Mills
|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.|
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 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.
Chinley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.|
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.
Hayfield Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Rowarth Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Whaley Bridge Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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