The town of New Mills is set in an area of spectacular natural beauty standing above a natural rocky gorge, known as The Torrs, where the River Sett joins the River Goyt.
Taking its name from a medieval corn mill which was established sometime before 1391, and later rebuilt, the area became known as ‘newmylne’. By the late sixteenth century the name New Mill had become the place name for the small hamlet that had grown up around the mill and later evolved into New Mills with the building of cotton mills during the 1780s.
The town is now home to a wide range of independent food retailers and has a good selection of restaurants, cafés and pubs. The Torrs Riverside Park – the park ‘under the town’ – extends to two miles and is a superb place to walk, picnic and learn about the natural and industrial history of the area.
The park links to the Sett Valley Trail, Goyt Way and Midshires Way as well as to longer national trails, although until 1999, the route towards Cheshire along the Goyt Way was interrupted by what The Guardian newspaper described as’ the last inaccessible place in England’. The solution came in the form of the £550,000 Millennium Walkway, an innovative 175-yard aerial walkway spanning the otherwise inaccessible cliff wall – the walkway won numerous awards for its stunning design, was showcased on national TV and also featured on a Post Office stamp marking the millennium.
Other walks and trails around the area include the Town Trail – a short walking trail beginning at the heritage centre and the Trespass Trail, which commemorates the mass trespass of Kinder in 1932 – a major catalyst to the creation of today’s national parks. This circular trail starts at New Mills Heritage Centre and follows much of the original route taken by the trespassers.
Linked to the Torrs, the Sett Valley Trail is the two and half miles recreational trail leading to Hayfield, a small picturesque village situated at the foot of Kinder Scout. The Peak Forest Canal towpath links with hundreds of miles of footpaths and allows easy access to the 16 locks of Marple, as well as to the restored Bugsworth Basin, while High Lee Hall and Park is an attraction recreation area with gardens, woodland, a recently planted orchard and large playground.
New Mills Heritage and Information Centre is is open daily 11am-4pm (except Mondays) and is fully accessible for disabled people, with light refreshments, shop and toilet facilities available.
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