This is another train-hike, this time from Edale train station to New Mills Train station. There are two train stations in New Mills. it is the south-most one, “New Mills Newtown”, that goes to Manchester. But you ought to check as I think that there are two different routes.
You can simply buy a return ticket to Edale from Manchester, as the train goes through New Mills on the way to Edale. Similarly, if you are coming from the Sheffield side, then take a return ticket to New Mills, as the train to New Mills would go through Edale. But don’t forget to actually get off at Edale 🙂 .
There are, of course, several ways to walk from Edale to New Mills. I will talk about a walk that I did a few years ago which, like the Buxton to Edale walk, takes in some popular and good quality paths. The walk is 21 Km from Edale to New Mills.
The walk covers quite a bit of open moorland with a soil consisting largely of peat. Peat doesn’t drain too well so, in my opinion, the walk is best done after a few days of dry weather, preferably in the summer.
Edale to New Mills across the Moor. Follow the thin blue line with your mouse to see the full walk.
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Edale Train Station to Rushup Edge
Emerge from Edale station and go down the slope towards Edale Village. Turn right under the railway bridge. There is the Penny Pot Cafe up the slope leading to the westward bound platform of the station, if you want a cuppa before you set off.
Continue down the road until it meets the main road, Edale Road. There is an old red telephone box at the junction. Turn right. After about 50m, after a small wooded area on your left, turn left into a road with a “no-through road” sign. There is also a National Trust sign saying “Hardenclough Farm”. Off you go up this small road, south, heading towards the ridge.
Pass Hardenclough Farm on your right and carry on up the road. Two hundred meters past Hardenclough Farm the road bends round to the left. On the corner here, on your right, is a footpath going on up Harden Clough. Best to miss this one as the one I intend you to go is better. So, carry on up the road to another farm, called “Greenlands”. Just before the entrance to Greenlands is a gate on your left, with a footpath sign. Go through and turn right. This is a nice footpath, much better than the one up Harden Clough. Come to a road at GR 125, 836. This is actually the same road as the one with the telephone box you were on at the bottom of the hill. To the east is Mam Tor, to the left is Rushup Edge. You want to go up Rushup Edge. Turn left along the road.
There are one or two paths going up to Rushup Edge, on your right, but best to carry on up the road, just over the crest of the hill, and then take the main one. There is a footpath sign and a wooden gate, on the edge of a wood, and you can see that you could almost drive up this one.
The picture shows the main path going up to Rushup Edge
Rushup Edge to Brown Knoll
So, back to walking up hill. Once you get above the level of the trees you can see for miles from here all around, assuming it is clear. That’d be another reason for doing this walk during the summer.
This is a bit of a long old stretch of about 3 km, to GR 099, 829. At that grid ref you will make a right turn, on to another path, heading towards Brown Knoll. There are a few paths going off on your right. So don’t be fooled, have your GPS handy or follow your map accurately. For instance, there has been a wall on your left for most of the way along Rushup Edge. A hundred and fifty meters before your turn to the right the wall forks into two walls. Opposite your turn on the right there is a wall at right angles to the wall you been walking beside.
So, turn right. This is Chapel Gate Track, on your map. According to the OS 1, Explorer map legend, this is a “Byway, open to all traffic”. Don’t be fooled by that either. I walked right the way down to the bottom of the valley that way once. There was so much landslides of the road that you had to climb vertically in places. Maybe it’s been fixed up since, hopefully.
After around 100m Chapel Gate track continues on down to Barber Booth. You fork of to the left and, if the ground is dry, have a pleasant walk across the moor. Brown Knoll is at GR 084, 851. It is the highest point of our walk.
Brown Knoll to the Pennine Bridleway
Continue on your path, from Brown Knoll, for another 150m, until you come to a ‘T’ junction in the path. Turn right. It occurred to me when I was walking over the moor that I wouldn’t make in the dark or in mist, as the paths are not always well defined and you could easily miss them. But you might be a better Navigator than me though 😉 .
Your path joins a larger path at a cross-roads of paths at GR 081, 861. Here you take a left. You walk along this path with a wall on your right all the way. Another wall crosses the path and you go through a gateway. Look to your right and you will see the Medieval Edale Cross.
Aerial View of the path past Edale Cross, with Swine’s Back at the top
Half a kilometre on from Edale Cross the path becomes a track and it is much easier walking. You are now gradually descending down to Hayfield. The path passes farm buildings and a small wooded area at GR 057, 858, Coldwell Clough. Just around the corner, as the path heads North again, adjacent to a fairly steep slope on your left, the path forks in two. You keep to the left fork, which is the official right of way and it meets the Pennine Bridleway.
From the White Lady to the Sett Valley Trail
Two hundred meters on from the fork in the path you will find yourself (A) Opposite the entrance to The Ashes Farm, away to your right, through the trees and (B) beside a mini, white-painted, megalith called The White Lady. Take the small path off to your left, by The White Lady. You keep a copse of trees on your left and you are heading toward more substantial woodland, beginning at the intersection of two walls, GR 052, 864. You are now on the Pennine Bridleway and you are to go anti-clockwise, following the path around the woodland. Pleasant enough magical little walk along the side of the Kinder River Valley. The track joins Valley Road as you begin to enter the town of Hayfield.
Back in January 1995, I was leading a party of us walkers, from Manchester University Hiking Club. We had started off somewhere near Glossop, where we had all got off the train on an organised day hike. I recall it was a very wet and windy day and we had been up Kinder Scout and nearly got blown off. I met the lady who would eventually become my wife on this trip. I don’t know how she and I managed to get separated from the rest of the people I led, I don’t recall it being incompetence 🙂 . Anyway, we found ourselves alone together looking for somewhere dry and warm to get a hot drink, We went in one pub and the guy didn’t allow folk in there with wet or dirty boots! Needless to say, it was almost empty. No way to run a pub business in a popular walking area. Anyway, we arranged to meet again later in the week in Owens Park Bar. She was half an hour late and I was just getting up to go when she showed up. Funny how things happen, because often or not they almost don’t.
As you emerge from the wood into the built up area, continue along Valley Road. The road changes direction at one point and heads NW and a little later joins Church Street. Near the church there is a post office where you can buy chocolate bars and crisps and stuff, as I did. There is also Millie’s Tea Rooms and the Village Chippy. Just before the church take a left into Walk Mill Road. Dutson’s Restaurant is on your left. Walk through the car park and cross the main A624 Chapel Road. There is a bus terminus on the West side of Chapel Road, a large car park and a public toilet if you need it. This is our start point for the Sett Valley Trail.
Along the Sett Valley Trail
Carry on through the car park heading West where you will see a footpath sign marked Sett Valley Trail. The SVT used to be an old railway, according to the Wikipedia page. Open from 1868 to 1970.
I thought that nice Dr Beeching had finished his work by 1970. Anyway, he didn’t cut the line down to St Erth and Carbis Bay in Cornwall, for which I am eternally grateful. Why is it government and local government are always looking to cut services? To save money obviously but they just seem to increase the number of administrators in government and farm all the work out to contractors or sell off the government industries (eg the railways). I reckon a lot of the administration could be computerised, with stiff penalties for anyone trying to play the system. At least more of the public money would go for front line services instead of for pen pushers. But I guess then there would be a need for folk to do the computerisation and to maintain it (more contractors), and other folk to do spot-check and advise on updates etc. Still, it would at least evolve into a stream-lined system, instead of burgeoning as it is now. But isn’t that how economics work? Government take taxes, spend money on services and the money goes round and round. Just having a grump. I don’t have any answers. Where was I?
By the time I got to the SVT, it was school knocking-off time and I was surrounded by secondary school children, obviously away from the watchful eyes of parents and teachers, getting up to all sorts of high jinks. The SVT is 4 Km long and goes all the way to New Mills.
The SVT is fairly straight forward walking for most of the way. You might, from time to time, begin to wish you had your bike though. There is an “interesting” bit at GR 022, 868. The path suddenly comes around to the left and you come out on to Station Road. What you need to do is not come out on to the road but follow the path alongside the North of the road, for 150m whereupon you come to a wooden gate, for the purposes of restraining exuberant children and dogs from the busy road. Go through the gate and cross the road to a gate on the opposite side of the road. Whereupon you continue your walk. There would have been a bridge here originally for the trains, of course.
On the outskirts of New Mills the Trail seems to lose the plot a bit as it starts to get just a little narrow and winding. This is because of more missing bridges. The trail rises to road-level at St Georges Road and goes back down below, after crossing the road. Same procedure at Church Lane, 50m further along. Under a bridge at Hyde Bank Road.
The SVT crosses High Hill Road at GR 009, 867. There must have been a level crossing here when the trains were running, I guess. There is a bridge as the trail crosses Watford Bridge Road. Finally emerging at Lower Rock Street. You can get to the end of the trail but it is a bit of a faff getting back up to the road and to the station from there.
Turn left into Back Union Road, and then join the main Union Road, B6101, going south. Be sure to look down over the side of the road bridge as it crosses the Goyt river valley to see what you missed by not messing about on the SVT anymore. I received lovely smiles from a mother and daughter who were also walking along this bridge locally. I probably had an inane expression on my face at this point which they took for a smile. Or maybe they were just amused by this flagging little man with a walking pole and back pack. I was wearing my shorts. That would have done it.
Turn right at the junction of Union Road into Albion Road, A6015, to finally traipse your way along to New Mills Newtown Train Station. There is an old chapel by the station that has been nicely done up into a gym, called “New Bodies”. You’ll be thinking you’d maybe like one of those by now.