Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 30 August 2012

New Mills Hydro

Yesterday we stopped at New Mills tempted by the lovely sweet smells coming from the Swizzles Matlow factory beside the canal. Don't think they do factory tours though.

The town of New Mills sits up high on the the Torrs, a dramatic gorge where the rivers Goyt and Sett flow.
 At the beginning of the 1800's there were 9 cotton mills, 3 weaving mills and three print mills.  The climate,(damp), good construction stone and the fast flowing rivers made it an ideal place for the cotton spinning industry.  The soft iron-free water was also good for bleaching, finishing and printing the materials.
With the use of steam and the canal network for transport, bigger mills were built and the smaller ones fell out of use. 

Torr Vale Mill expanded and continued to work until 2000, making over 200 years of service.

The Torrs Millennium Walkway, overlooking the mill, was built at a cost of £525,000 (almost half from the Millennium Commission) by Derbyshire County Council's in-house engineers.
The walkway spans the otherwise inaccessible cliff wall above the River Goyt. Part rises from the riverbed on stilts and part is cantilevered off the railway retaining wall. It provided the final link in the 225-mile Midshires Way and was opened in April 2000.

Bringing the area right up to date is the Torrs Hydro, a reverse Archimedian Screw hydroelectric scheme.  It has been sited where the river Sett meets the river Goyt, above the dam built to serve the mills. 
 It is supposed to be able to generate 70kw of electricity, it was running at 43kw when we were there.  It has been built and runs as a community co-operative supplying electricity to the Co-op supermarket on the hill above.
I did think to press the video button, but signal is not good enough tonight to upload it, sorry.
Bugsworth - Marple
6.5 miles, 0 locks, 4 bridges


  1. Such a fabulous place - we loved it

  2. It's encouraging to hear of projects like this hydro-turbine.

  3. We spent a good while looking at it and chatting to a very knowledgeable lady about the technical details, (well to be honest, Ian did, it was all greek to me!)