9½ miles – allow 5 hours. A lengthy circular walk from New Mills bus station, mostly on roads and well-defined paths and tracks, but with some significant ascents and descents.
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 writer’s half-sister, Sarah Deakin, and her husband John first resided at Ridge End, Marple, and later at Cobden Edge, Mellor. Electoral rolls show the Deakins to be living at Paradise during the 1880s. This was a property next to the cottage of Three Chimneys, the name of the house used in The Railway Children. It was here, overlooking the Goyt Valley at Strines, high above the smoking chimney of Strines Printworks and the railway along which the steam trains travelled, that Edith Nesbit came to visit her relatives. Her friendship with the Woodcock family of Aspenshaw Hall also allowed her to become familiar with the surrounding countryside which overlooked the industrial scenes of Thornsett and Birch Vale Printworks. The contrasting landscape of isolated hilly upland with industrial activity in the valleys appears to have inspired the author in her writings.
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Walk courtesy of New Mills Walkers are Welcome, Torrs Hydro and Active Derbyshire for more walks visit nmwaw.org.uk
New Mills to Thornsett
Starting at New Mills bus station, locate the Torr Vale Mill viewpoint at the rear, and walk down the steps into the Torrs, then turn left under the Union Road Bridge.
Pass to the left of Torrs Hydro and take the upstream (left-hand) of the two footbridges over the River Sett. Turn left (upstream), then recross the river at the next bridge.
Pass under the railway arch. Ignoring the cobbled road leading up to the left, stay alongside the river then climb the steps to the old railway bridge by the tunnel mouth.
Turn right over the river, and pass under Hyde Bank Road on the old railway, now the Sett Valley Trail. 5 Walk behind the Leisure Centre and Medical Centre before crossing Church Lane.
Thornsett to Aspenshaw
Passing the Printer’s Arms, a row of cottages, a converted church and another row of cottages, turn left into Sitch Lane and continue up the hill past an area of woodland concealing a small disused quarry on the right.
Take the next public footpath on the left, through a metal gate towards Bank Head Farm. Pass the farmhouse and go through the middle of the three gates facing, and walk along the path by the side of the wall on the left.
Go over the second stile you encounter in the corner of the field and walk towards the nearest house you can see – New House Farm.
Walk past the gate, turn left over the stile and pass the front of the house. Bearing left and keeping to the footpath, head towards Aspenshaw Cottages.
Go over the stile opposite the cottages and turn left passing Aspenshaw Hall.
Aspenshaw to Three Chimneys
About 200 yards past Aspenshaw Hall there is a small green island at a road junction. At this junction walk straight on into Briargrove Road. This is mainly uphill. Walk past Blake Hall on the right-hand side until you come to the junction with the main New Mills to Mellor Road.
Turn right towards Mellor, walk for about 100 yards and then turn left into the macadamed road. Pass Cannon Hill Farm on the left-hand side and then Moreland Cottage at a road junction.
Bear left up the hill passing Paradise on the left-hand side. Just after Paradise a track cuts across the road at right angles. Cobden Cross is on the skyline to the left. Ahead of you is the roofline of the Three Chimneys. Walk up the steep hill to Three Chimneys the house.
Three Chimneys to Strines
From Three Chimneys, retrace your steps to the junction opposite Paradise. Take the first road on the left. Pass Bull Hill Farm on the left-hand side and the golf course on the right-hand side, where the road becomes a rough track. Keep straight on down the track running alongside the wall for a short way.
Turn left through an old gatepost, with a view including the site of the former Strines Printworks. Pass through a cluster of cottages (The Banks). Turn left and continue straight ahead, along a narrow pathway bordered by fences.
The path ends at The Cottage. Take a sharp right and follow the path downhill to Strines Railway Station. Walk under the bridge and follow the road until you get to the B-road between New Mills and Marple.
Strines to New Mills
Cross the main road and walk up the track opposite towards the canal. Just before the aqueduct take the stile on the left-hand side and walk onto the canal. Turn left and continue on the canal passing bridges 23 to 28.
Pass Brunswick Mills and turn left onto Victoria Street, opposite the marina. Walk down Victoria Street and turn right onto Albion Road.
Keep walking until you come to the traffic lights. Turn left onto Union Road. Cross Union Bridge high over the River Goyt and continue uphill back to the bus station.
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