Mid-Summer Walk - Sunday, 3 July
By Phil Hayward
Eleven ski club members met at New Mills Leisure Centre on Hyde Bank Road for a walk led by Helen Richardson.
The initial 2 kms of the walk went through the Torrs Riverside Park where the Rivers Goyt and Sett meet. This area was particularly suitable for cotton mill development and weirs were created to provide the water power. Textile manufacturing was carried out for over 200 years and there is still evidence left such as mill ruins, weirs, aqueducts, chimneys, cobbled tracks and arched bridges. Today the hard sandstone walls of the gorges are popular with climbers.
We then followed the Goyt way along the Peak Forest canal to Furness Vale and the marina. This Canal runs for 15 miles between Ashton under Lyne and Whaley Bridge and was originally used for transporting limestone from the peak district quarries. From Furnace Vale it was uphill to Kiln Knoll. Although only 298m in height, it was a great vantage point. To the east there was good views of Kinder Plateau (Kinder downfall could just be made out) and to the west Macclesfield, Stockport and beyond.
We then entered Lyme Park through the deer park and found a suitable shaded spot for lunch overlooking Lyme Hall. From a large tin, Dave shared his excellent homemade granola bars (recipe on club website) with us all. Helen then produced a large fruitcake from her rucksack which she divided up between us.
Suitably fortified, we slowly made our way uphill past the Cage, a tower built in 1737. It was originally a hunting lodge and was later used as a park-keeper's cottage and as a lock-up for prisoners. It was then downhill to the park gate passing a queue of cars entering the park. Just after crossing the busy A6 we climbed uphill through quiet woodland to some disused quarries. By contrast we then walked down the lush fairways of Disley golf course to rejoin the Peak Forest canal and the river Goyt back towards New Mills.
On re-entering the Torrs Riverside Park, we now walked up the Millenium walkway. This 175-yard long elevated steel walkway contours along a rocky wall in the 30m deep Torrs gorge, which is an enormous retaining wall for the Manchester to Sheffield railway above. The walkway was completed just before Christmas 1999.On the opposite bank was the historic Torr Vale Mill, recognised now as the oldest working cotton mill in the country (from 1788).
We then climbed up to Torrs Top and back to our cars. It had been a very enjoyable walk of approximately 10 miles through varied countryside and the sun shone all day. Many thanks to Helen for organizing this walk and her leadership and catering throughout the day.