The Millennium Walkway, New Mills

Published 24 July 2022

An old mill and a new walkway, all over a very old river.

A couple of weeks ago, some friends travelled up from London to visit, and in celebration, we headed to a bar. Not just any bar, but a bar in a bar in an old mill next to a river, in a gorge.

From street level, you’d never know it was there, but the Torrs is a fantastic place. It’s a 21m deep gorge in the town of New Mills, Derbyshire. A gorge created over millennia, where the water of the River Goyt has worn through the sandstone. It’s a gloriously dramatic place.

For a long time, its main use was industrial. Good transport links and a powerful river saw the gorge become home to multiple mills, only one of which remains standing. It’s now a riverside park. At one end of the gorge there’s a dramatic wall of stone; a retaining wall for the embankment one of the town’s railway lines was built on. At the other, there’s the huge bridges that carry the roads over the gorge. And all along are trees, greenery, and the water. I love it to bits.

But by far the best thing is – without doubt – the Millennium Walkway.

Shiny metal, and filling a gap in the Goyt’s riverside path, is the Millennium Walkway.

Until 1999 you couldn’t walk along the whole of the gorge. The river got in the way. Then someone had the bright idea of installing a walkway, raised on stilts at one end, attached to the railway wall on the other. It allows you to get up close and personal to the river, and walk through the whole of the park. Or the mill if you fancy a drink and a calzone.

We obviously took our friends the scenic route through it all. One of them, on seeing the walkway just started running down it happily, arms in the air, a big grin on her face. I don’t think she realised it’s 160m long, but she didn’t care. And nor should you. For it is the perfect way to experience the Millennium Walkway. I’ve done it myself several times.

The Torrs, with the Millennium Walkway, is one of those places that simply fills me with joy. And obviously it can done done as part of a good walk. One of the reasons the walkway was built was to provide a “missing link” for the Goyt Way, and the Midshires Way – both of which travel through New Mills. The Goyt Way’s a ten mile trail, and easily done in a day, and is well worth doing. Maybe pop into the Shrub Club whilst you’re passing. You won’t regret it. Just make sure you run down the walkway, with a huge smile on your face.

And with that, I’m going to sign off. Don’t worry – it’s just for Rambling Man Summer Break. I’ll be back in September where, with any luck, I’ll be able to regale you with tales of the Sandstone Trail.

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