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Peak District Towns and Villages: Lyme Hall and Park
Villages around Lyme Hall and Park
|To the north of Macclesfield, nestling just below the National Park boundary lies the town of Bollington. The name suggests that this is a town on the River Bollin, which flows from this area down across the Cheshire plain, but actually Bollington lies 2 miles from the Bollin and is on the River Deane, a tributary.|
Like Macclesfield, Bollington was also a mill town but produced principally cotton rather than silk. It has a number of former mills - though here they are often built of stone rather than brick. Here too spinning has long since ceased and has been replaced by other industries.
Bollington is also well known as a stopping point along the Macclesfield canal - part of the Cheshire Ring - and the canal crosses the valley of the river Dean on a tall aqueduct. The canal is the top section of the Macclesfield canal and is 518ft above sea level.
There is the very interesting Bollington Discovery Centre and a nice cafe in the Clarence Mill beside the canal which is open to the public at the weekends and on Wednesday afternoons.
Bollington is a good centre for exploring the north-west corner of the Peak and is overlooked by Kerridge Hill, which is topped by an unusual white cone called 'White Nancy', and offers a magnificent view of the area.
Bollington Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Kettleshulme is a pretty village lying in the valley of Todd Brook, which meanders its way from the western slopes of Shining Tor to join the Goyt at Whaley Bridge. The Swan Inn in the village dates from the 15th century.|
Kettleshulme was once a centre for the manufacture of candlewick material, but this ceased in 1937. In the 19th century it was home to a character called Amos Broadhurst, whose beard grew to a length of seven feet.
Dunge Valley gardens lie just to the west of Wingather Rocks and is well worth a visit, especially in the rhododendron season.
Higher up the valley of Todd Brook is Saltersford, a tiny hamlet on one of the old packhorse roads between Macclesfield and Buxton. Saltersford Hall farms a remote tract of moorland below Cat Tor and Shining Tor and is dated 1593. Just around the corner is a tiny parish church, called Jenkin Chapel, which was built by John Slack in 1733 and is named after a contemporary sheep drover.
Kettleshulme Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|New Mills is a former mill town which formed at the junction of the Rivers Goyt and Sett. It is located just outside the Peak District National Park and just inside the western boundary of Derbyshire. The town comprises several districts which merge into a conurbation - New Mills itself, Ollersett, Newtown and Low Leighton. Further up the Sett Valley are Thornsett and Birch Vale, which are separated from New Mills by some green spaces.|
The whole area once formed part of the Royal Forest of the Peak and had a number of small scattered hamlets. The name 'New Mills' was first recorded in 1391 to refer to a corn mill on the River Goyt and by the 16th century this was in common usage as the name for the area around the hamlets of Beard, Ollersett, Thornsett and Whitle.
To service the new industries communications were improved, starting with the Peak Forest Canal, which was constructed between 1794 and 1804, linking the town with Manchester. In the 1860s the arrival of the London and North Western line between Manchester and Buxton saw New Mills Newtown station constructed, followed soon after by the Midland Railway between Manchester and London which created New Mills Central station. Both of these lines are still operational but the branch line between New Mills Central and Hayfield has closed and is now the Sett Valley Trail.
Until the 19th century New Mills was virtually cut in two by the deep gorge of the Goyt and the only crossing involved a tortuous descent down to a bridge just above the river level, followed by an equally hard ascent the other side. Church Road bridge was constructed in 1835 to carry the turnpike road from Newtown to Thornsett across the river, but this only partially solved the
Coal mining and printing were other local industries. The standard method of using engraving to print calico was invented in New Mills in 1821 and a large printing works was constructed at Thornsett. Poor quality coal was mined at several sites on the local moors, notably Ollersett Moor. These mines thrived in the 19th century and had all closed by the First World War, though some small-scale mining continued sporadically until 1947.
Modern New Mills looks like a typical mill town, perhaps owing more to Lancashire than Derbyshire, with the centre a warren of narrow streets and stone-built cottages. The town's post-industrial decline has been somewhat compensated for in it's growth as a home for Manchester commuters and there have been a lot of new houses built. A range of local industry still thrives - one former mill makes Swizzels 'Love Hearts' sweets, and other firms are involved in engineering, quarrying, textiles and computer software.
Recent developments include the opening of the stunning 'Millenium Walkway' above the Goyt and the Torrs Hydro - a community owned and funded hydropower scheme.
New Mills Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Pott Shrigley lies on the very edge of the National Park, with its centre at only 185 metres above sea level, though the road westwards into the Peak climbs quickly up to 354 metres near Brink Farm, from where there are fine views towards Kinder Scout.|
The main part of the village clusters around the church, which dates from the 15th century. The chief local mansion, Pott Hall, is now a nursing home. Up the road towards Kettleshulme and Whaley Bridge there is a small industrial estate in the buildings of a former brickworks. This was powered by locally mined low-grade coal, of which there is an abundance in thin seams on these hill-tops.
Pott Shrigley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Straddling the National Park boundary, Rainow was once a silk and cotton weavers' village, but these days have long passed and the cottages of the village are now occupied mostly by commuters to Macclesfield and south Manchester. Gritstone quarrying is another industry which once flourished around the village but which has now passed by.|
The site of the village has been occupied since at least Roman times and in medieval times it was a staging post on one of the 'salt routes' along which packhorses carried salt eastwards from the mines of Cheshire. This particular route went from Macclesfield via Rainow to Saltersford and thence over the ridge to the Goyt valley and Buxton.
The village is nicely placed for walks on nearby Kerridge Hill, a part of the Gritstone Trail. This gives fine views over Bollington and the Cheshire Plain.
Rainow 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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