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Car-free adventures: Exploring the glorious Goyt Valley

Car-free adventures: Exploring the glorious Goyt Valley

Journey through beautiful countryside and leave the bright lights of Manchester and Sheffield city centres behind on a visit to this picturesque corner of the county.

Lying just a few miles north-west of the famous spa town of Buxton, the Goyt Valley is one of the most beautiful - and lesser-visited - areas of the Peak District. It also has fantastic public transport connections, a wealth of charming towns and villages, fascinating industrial heritage and an abundance of outdoor activities, making it the perfect place to explore without a car!

New Mills

Set in an area of dramatic natural beauty, New Mills stands above a rocky gorge known as The Torrs, and is the scenic point where the River Sett meets the River Goyt. It also has fantastic transport links, making it the perfect place to explore by bus or rail.

New Mills grew from a hamlet based around a 14th century corn mill known as ‘newmylne’ and as the cotton mills developed in the 1780s, the town became known as New Mills. Today, you'll discover a fantastic mix of independent shops, cafes and pubs, a thriving arts scene, a great programme of local events, a unique 'hidden theatre' and recently refurbished mill buildings.

On arrival, head straight to New Mills Heritage Centre (next to the bus station) to learn about the town's history and heritage, before heading to the impressive Millenium Walkway to soak up waterside views and explore the town on foot. This innovative 175-yard aerial walkway spans across the river, offering incredible views to Torrs Mill.

Next, explore Torrs Riverside Park, known as the park ‘under the town’. It's a great place to walk, picnic and learn about the natural and industrial history of the area. The park also links to the Sett Valley Trail, a two and a half mile trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders linking New Mills to Hayfield, at the foot of Kinder Scout.

Keen walkers can also follow in the footsteps of those who fought for the ‘right to roam’ along the Trespass Trail, which commemorates the mass trespass of Kinder in 1932.  This action was a major catalyst to the creation of today’s national parks and led to the designation of Britain’s first national park, the Peak District, in 1951. This 14-mile circular trail starts at New Mills Heritage Centre and follows much of the original route taken by the trespassers. 

Public transport: New Mills is served by two stations: Central Station on Northern's Manchester – Sheffield “Hope Valley Line” is close to the centre of the town. New Mills Newtown Station lies on the other side of the valley on Northern's Manchester - Buxton Line and is about 1 mile from the town centre. Near here, you can access the Peak Forest Canal towpath which offers lovely waterside walks to the restored wharves and industrial heritage area at Bugsworth Basin near Chinley. Bus services from Buxton, Glossop, Macclesfield and Stockport all regularly travel to New Mills.

Whaley Bridge

Reached by rail from New Mills Newtown in less than 15 minutes, Whaley Bridge lies at the head of the scenic Peak Forest Canal, with a rich industrial heritage and charming steets to explore.

Soak up the area's canal heritage and enjoy a waterside wander on the Peak Forest Canal, which opened in 1800 to transport limestone from the quarries of Derbyshire. For something a little longer, the picturesque 10-mile Goyt Way walk starts from the nearby Transhipment Shed and follows the valley of the River Goyt through New Mills to Etherow Country Park near Marple.

Within easy walking distance of the town centre is Toddbrook Reservoir which caused a major incident in August 2019 when the dam wall was in danger of collapsing. Many residents were evacuated and repair work to the dam wall is ongoing, but it is usually a beautiful setting for fishing, sailing, canoeing and walking.

Today, the town is once again open for businesses and boasts a range of small, independent shops selling everything from special gifts to fine wine and locally-produced food. There's also a range of friendly pubs, restaurants and cafés mostly located along the main street near the railway station, plus an attractive Memorial Park with play area.

Public transport: Whaley Bridge Station lies on the Manchester Piccadilly – Buxton Line operated by Northern. The station is conveniently located in the centre of the town on Market Street near to all the main facilities the town has to offer. Whaley Bridge is also served by several bus services connecting to Stockport, Buxton, Manchester Airport, New Mills, Glossop, Macclesfield and Chapel-en-le-Frith. 

Chapel en-le-Frith

Just over 10 minutes by train from Whaley Bridge, this rural market town has an unusual name which derives from the French meaning “Chapel in the Forest”. This refers to the building of a lodge or chapel here by the keepers of the Royal Forest of the High Peak in 1225!

Today Chapel-en-le-Frith has a range of great local shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and a supermarket along its main street and there are some great places to stay too if you wish to make Chapel your base for a weekend stay or longer.

Chapel is known as the 'Capital of the Peak District' and is a great location for wonderful walks through stunning scenery. The summit of Eccles Pike is just 1.5 miles from the town centre and provides a pictursque 360-degree panorama of all the major hills and valleys at the western edge of the Peak District.

Alternatively, follow the heritage trail around Chapel and discover Church Brow, a picture-perfect cobbled street with 17th century homes.

Public transport: Chapel-en-le-Frith station lies on the Manchester Piccadilly – Buxton Line, operated by Northern, and there is plenty of attractive scenery to view through the train windows. Please note: The station is about 1 mile from the town centre and the nearest bus stops are half a mile away on Manchester Road offering connections to Buxton, Whaley Bridge, Stockport and Manchester Airport.

Chinley

Just a short hop from New Mills Central on the Manchester to Sheffield line is the village of Chinley. With its small number of shops, pubs and cafes, this quiet village is an ideal starting point for a picturesque walk on the fringe of the Peak District. An uphill walk to Eccles Pike is rewarded with breathtaking views and an outstanding panorama of the area. Whilst for something slightly less strenuous, you can hop off the train here and follow the signs to Bugsworth Canal Basin for peaceful waterside walks.

Public transport: Chinley is on Northern's Hope Valley Line between Sheffield and Manchester. The nearest bus stops are on Station Road, offering connections to Buxton and Whaley Bridge.

Strines Station

Literary lovers shouldn't miss a visit to Strines Station. It's believed that Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, set her famous book around this scenic station and the railway line between Marple and New Mills. The New Mills ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ Group have produced a leaflet describing an interesting literary trail in the area which features many of the buildings and landscapes that Edith Nesbit would have known.

Buxton

Elegant Buxton has been welcoming visitors to enjoy its natural thermal springs and stunning setting 300 metres above sea level since Roman times. Known then as Aquae Arnemetiae, or the Spa of the Goddess of the Grove, its fortunes are currently reviving thanks to the recent restoration and reopening of its Grade I listed centrepiece, the Crescent.

At the centre of town, just a short walk from the train station, the Ensana Buxton Crescent Hotel & Thermal Spa features fabulous spa facilities that harness the town's famous thermal water, which rises from the earth at a constant temperature of 28 degrees C.

But there's much more to the highest market town in England than its most famous brand. Buxton is deservedly renowned for its Georgian and Victorian architecture - much of it linked with the 5th Duke of Devonshire's ambitions to create a spa town to rival Bath back in the 18th century.

Among its finest gems are the striking Devonshire Dome, which was built by the Duke of Devonshire as stables to complement The Crescent, and the Edwardian Opera House, home of internationally-renowned Buxton Festival and a host of other festivals, theatre, music and comedy shows throughout the year. Close by is the historic Old Hall Hotel, where ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots was held captive in the 16th century, while a short walk leads to mysterious Poole's Cavern.

Don't miss a stroll around the beautifully-landscaped and restored Pavilion Gardens, a trip down the High Street to explore the Cavendish Arcade and a memorable ride on the Discover Buxton tram, which takes you on a tour of the town aboard a converted milk float!

  • For train tickets, timetables and more information click here
     
  • For more information on things to see and do on the Manchester-Buxton line click here
     
  • To discover more great car-free adventures in the Peak District & Derbyshire click here

To make your days out as enjoyable as possible in the future, we encourage you to plan your trip in advance and to always visit responsibly, taking your litter home and looking after our great outdoors. Wearing a face covering is recommended on public transport and always remember to wash or sanitise your hands regularly to protect yourself and those around you.

Product Information

  1. Chapel-en-le-Frith

    Chapel-en-le-Frith

    Contact Details:

    High Peak
    Chapel-en-le-Frith
    SK23 0HB

    Tel:

    01298 25106
  2. Glossop

    Glossop

    Contact Details:

    Glossop
    Glossop
    Derbyshire

    Tel:

    01298 25106
  3. New Mills

    Derbyshire

    Contact Details:

    High Peak
    Derbyshire
    SK22 3BN

    Tel:

    01298 25106
  4. Whaley Bridge

    Derbyshire

    Contact Details:

    HIgh Peak
    Derbyshire
    SK23 7LU

    Tel:

    01298 25106
  5. Buxton

    Buxton

    Contact Details:

    Buxton
    Buxton
    Derbyshire

    Tel:

    01298 25106
  6. Contact Details:

    The Torrs
    New Mills
    High Peak
    SK22 4AT

    Tel:

    01663 743434

Itinerary Distances

FromToDistance * (metric)
Chapel-en-le-Frith (53.31779,-1.92339)Glossop (53.44185,-1.95027)12.53
Glossop (53.44185,-1.95027)New Mills (53.36541,-2.00185)8.26
New Mills (53.36541,-2.00185)Whaley Bridge (53.32932,-1.98394)3.77
Whaley Bridge (53.32932,-1.98394)Buxton (53.25936,-1.9145)8.15
Buxton (53.25936,-1.9145)Torrs Riverside Park (53.36815,-2.00295)12.12
Total Distance *44.82 miles
Estimated Journey Time1.44 hours

* Approximate distance by road

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