New Mills Central – Hope Valley Line
Set in an area of dramatic natural beauty, New Mills stands above a rocky gorge, known as The Torrs. It is where the River Sett meets the River Goyt.
The town 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.
The town has a fabulous mix of independent food retailers and a good selection of restaurants, cafés and pubs plus of course historic mill buildings.
To top it off New Mills boasts the impressive Millennium Walkway, an innovative 175-yard aerial walkway spanning an inaccessible cliff wall and only a few feet above the surface of the river. A most enjoyable experience.
The Torrs and Trails
Riverside Park under the Torrs is known as the park ‘under the town’ and extends to two miles. It is the perfect place to walk, picnic and learn about the natural and industrial history of the area. You can access the Torrs Riverside via the Millennium Walkway and from behind New Mills Heritage Centre (next to the bus station).
The park links to the Sett Valley Trail, a two and a half mile recreational trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders linking New Mills and Hayfield at the foot of Kinder Scout. It follows a former railway line through outstanding countryside and forms part of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail between Hayfield and Birch Vale. This is an ‘access for all’ trail with a good surface allowing prams and mobility scooters access from New Mills town centre to Hayfield.
New Mills Heritage & Information Centre includes a museum with displays describing the formation of the Torrs gorge, the pre-industrial history including the Domesday Book and the Royal Forest. It is open daily 11am-4pm (except Mondays) and is accessible for all, with light refreshments, a shop and toilet facilities available.
Follow the Town Trail by clicking on http://www.stevelewis.me.uk/page6.php. This describes a short walk beginning at the Heritage Centre and highlights many aspects of the town’s industrial heritage.
Alternatively, 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. Click on this link to find out more http://kindertrespass.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Trespass-Trail-75.pdf
It is believed that Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, set her famous book around
Strines Station and the railway line between Marple and New Mills. The New Mills ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ Group have produced an excellent leaflet describing an interesting walk in the area which features many of the buildings and landscapes that Edith Nesbit would have known.
High Lee Hall & Park off Hague Bar Road is an attractive recreation area with gardens, woodland, a recently planted community orchard and large playground. Perfect for a picnic.
On the other side of the valley, and close to New Mills’ second railway station at Newtown on the Manchester – Buxton Line, you can access the Peak Forest Canal towpath which rewards you with a very pleasant walk towards the flight of 16 locks at Marple in one direction, or to the restored wharves and industrial heritage area at Bugsworth Basin near Chinley.
Facilities in New Mills
Most of the towns shops and other facilities can be found on Market Street and Union Road. There is a bank, a post office, a small outdoor market on Fridays and Saturdays, a good choice of cafes and takeaway food outlets, a supermarket, book shops and galleries. Public toilets are located on High Street.
The bus station is in the town centre at the top of Union Road and close to New Mills Central Station. The number 389 bus connects the centre with all parts of the town. Other towns and villages in the Peak District such as Hayfield, Glossop, Whaley Bridge, Disley, Chapel en le Frith and Buxton can be reached on bus services from New Mills. Further information can be found on the Traveline website: www.traveline.info
Local events to enjoy
New Mills Carnival: On the second Saturday of June each year New Mills comes alive to the various sounds, smells and sights of the Carnival. New Mills Carnival has fast become the biggest in the High Peak attracting thousands to come and watch and inspiring almost as many to take part in this all-day event. With a traditional parade weaving its way through the people lined streets it takes about 40 minutes for all the bands, floats and Carnival Queens to arrive at the Recreation ground – the parade has everything from the Billarettes to bagpipes. The recreation field also hosts a fun fair, dozens of stalls and a food area selling craft beers.
New Mills Arts Festival is a two-week annual celebration of community spirit, which includes a diverse range of activities featuring talks, walks, gigs, exhibitions, trails, quizzes and performances. Always held during the last two weeks in September, New Mills Festival is about holding events to bring people together to learn something new, get creative or be entertained. More details are available at https://www.newmillsfestival.com
New Mills One World Festival is held in July is the High Peak’s free community festival about peace, diversity, world development and the environment. Meet campaigns, community groups and other not-for-profit organisations working towards a fairer, more sustainable world. Each year the festival has a topical theme that the speakers, organisers and stalls help promote. As well as key-note speakers, the event is renowned for its music stage, food and drink with thousands attending each year at the venue in High Lee Park. http://oneworldfestival.org
Passenger facilities at New Mills Central Station
The town of New Mills benefits from two railway stations on different lines.
As the name implies, Central Station on the 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 the Manchester – Buxton Line and is about 1 mile from the town centre.
Although close to the centre of New Mills, access to Central Station is not easy for wheelchair users or the infirm because the driveway to it is very steep, although fortunately very few road vehicles use it. Also, it is important to note that the Sheffield-bound platform can only be reached via a flight of steps. The Manchester-bound platform however is accessed from the driveway by a step-free sloping path.
The station has a ticket office on the Manchester platform which is staffed on Monday – Friday mornings plus a waiting room and toilet. A ticket machine is available when the station building is closed. On the Sheffield platform there is a large waiting shelter.
There is a train to Manchester every 30 minutes throughout the day and a train to Sheffield once an hour. These services are operated by Northern Trains https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/
A day return from Manchester Piccadilly to New Mills Central is currently £8.10 and the journey takes about 30 minutes. Travelling from Sheffield to New Mills Central takes 50 minutes and a day return ticket costs £12.80.
Friends of New Mills Central Station Group
The 150th Anniversary of New Mills Central Station was celebrated in July 2015 and marked with a number of events at the station and in the town organised by the town council, the station friends’ group and New Mills Heritage Centre. A commemorative plaque was commissioned for the occasion and is sited outside the ticket office in a circular aperture which originally contained the station clock.