This is the Torrs’ star tourist attraction: the Millennium Walkway. Its long sweep of shining steel takes us over one of the noisiest of the Goyt’s weirs, at a dizzying height. It’s an inspired way of linking the riverside park with the trains at New Mills Central Station and Torr Vale Mill.
The vast edifice of Torr Vale Mill, just across the river, began life as a water-powered cotton mill in the 1780s. It was converted first to steam, then to electricity and spun its last yarn in 2000.
The oldest section of the building faces us, with its typically Georgian rectangular windows. The former mill race passed through the stone arch just below it, to the right.
These days it is used for conferences and events, with holiday accommodation in the former cottages and workshops behind. A fitting reflection then of the gorge’s entire, rich history, brought right up to date in the twenty-first century, viewed from this state-of-the-art bridge.
There are plans afoot for yet another new footbridge. The rock face above the path has been declared permanently unstable, but a new crossing of the river would restore the route of the Sett Valley Way. Typical of New Mills’ spirit, this kind of thinking and community action has kept the town very much alive through more than two centuries of change and reinvention.
As you enjoy the experience of suspension, walking over the Goyt to the end of our trail, let the sound of its powerful waters be a concluding reminder of the source from which New Mills’ prosperity, growth and modern rebirth sprung.
Don’t forget to visit the Heritage Centre if you have time. It is well worth the effort for the amazing miniature model of The Torrs in its heyday.
Continue along the walkway to the end, then turn right. Cross the road into New Mills Central station or go back up the hill of Station Road to reach the Bus Station and Heritage Centre.
This text was originally developed by Simon Corble for Discovering Britain. Created by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the Discovering Britain website features over 350 walks and viewpoints which explore the stories of Britain’s landscapes.
Simon Corble is a theatre director, playwright and actor based in Derbyshire’s Peak District. He is passionate about the countryside and discovering the hidden secrets of the natural world.