Grid Ref: SJ 996 856
Dates: 11 Jun 2011, 30 June 2011, 23 Jul 2011, 15 Sept 2011, 22 March 2012, 5 March 2014, 27 Aug 2014,


New Mills in Derbyshire lies about 8 miles SE of Stockport at the confluence of the rivers Goyt and Sett. The Torrs is a 70 feet deep ravine through the town cutting through the sandstone and carrying the River Goyt. Originally New Mills was a cotton spinning town and there was also cotton bleaching and calico printing. Coal was mined in the area. The town is served by the A6, three railway lines and the Peak Forest Canal. The name of the town does not come from cotton mills but from a corn mill of 1391. From 1788 cotton mills and print-works were built in the Torrs Gorge to take advantage of the water and the power of water wheels. The crossing of the Goyt was a major obstacle to transport prior to the building of the bridges. The first was Queens Bridge on Church Road and the Union Road bridge was in 1884, which united the two halves of the town. Two viaducts were built across the Goyt by the Sheffield and Midland Railways, one was for a line to New Mills Central that opened in 1863 and one for the line to the Disley Tunnel that opened in 1904.

New Mills is of interest to photographers because of its spectacular bridges over the River Goyt. They are not easy to photograph as they are in a deep ravine which is often in shade. Over several visits I have been able to find at last suitable lighting to produce the images below. The town has more to offer than bridges. A good way to appreciate the bridges is to walk along the tow path of the Peak Forest Canal from Whaley Bridge and at Grid Reference SK 004 840 fork right to join the path along the Goyt towards the town. An alternative is to park at the end of the Sett Valley Trail at Hayfield (SK 035 869) and walk 2.5 miles to New Mills along the line of the disused railway.

A highlight of the year is the Carnival which I was fortunate to catch in June 2011.


Road bridge
Union Road Bridge over the Goyt, August 2014
Bridge over Goyt
The old Packhorse Bridge can be seen in the foreground
Commemorative Plaque at Torr Top.

The plaque above, which is on a wall not far from the town centre, is highly appropriate for the current commemorations of the Great War. It reads:

Bravo, Torr Top

This part of New Mills is famed forever by giving its name to one of the hottest parts of the battle line in France. In Torr Top Street there is a winner of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and a winner of the Military Medal whilst in the little street below the Torr Top Mission there is another winner of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and another winner of the Military Medal. All honour to Torr Top! Where in England is there another place so small in area which has so distinguised itself in the war? Torr Top should be enshrined in the hearts of New Mills people! Torr Top, above all other places should be made a place fit for heroes to live. From the High Peak Reporter 1919.

Corporal John Cooper of Torr Top Street joined the Sherwood Foresters in 1914. He served throughout the war. He was both gassed and wounded. Corporal Cooper was awarded the DCM for 'Distinguished Conduct in the field'. But he had another claim to fame for it was he who gave the name Torr Top to a trench in the Ypres area. The name was printed on a board and appeared on the official Military Map. Following the Armistice, the board, splattered still with the mud of Flanders, was presented to the town.

Railway Bridge   Railway
Arches of rail bridge over the Goyt   View down to the Goyt near New Mills Central Station
Mill   Viaduct
Torr Vale Mill by the River Goyt   Viaduct serving New Mills Central Station
Old School House   Town Hall
Old School House   Town Hall
Foot bridge   musician
Millennium Walkway in the ravine below the town   Serious music at the carnival
Textile Mill   Billerettes
Part of a former textile mill   Leader of the Billerettes marching troupe

Wikipedia article on New Mills.

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