Goyt Valley

Goyt Valley in the Peak District National Park is two miles away from Buxton and combines some of the most picturesque moorland, crystal clear rivers tumbling over grit stone, lush pastureland and woodland. At its highest point, the landscape stands over 460 metres above sea level. The name Goyt is thought to come from the word 'goit' which means a channel for water or a stream from the old English word 'gote' or 'gota'.

The River Goyt starts its journey close to be A537 Buxton to Macclesfield Road and is in sight of the second highest pub in England, the Cat and Fiddle Inn, 1690 feet or 515 metres above sea level. It provided refuge of the travellers when it was built towards the end of the 18th century and has done ever since. Jenkin Chapel is nearby, the church of St John the Baptist just to the west of the valley and was built in 1733 by local farmers who couldn't get into town.

Walking from the Macclesfield old road, which was once the long disused coaching route out of Buxton, over a mile away, you will soon reach the picturesque 300 year old horse bridge which adorns many Peak District postcards. It is named after the counties it borders, Three Shires Head or its other name is Derbyshire Bridge, and is located between Macclesfield and Buxton and close to the Cheshire and Derbyshire County border.

There is a local legend that a highwayman called Pym used to lay in wait to ambush those who used the packhorse route, hence the Pym Chair, and although it is also thought he was a preacher who gave sermons here.

Flowing through the valley and rising high on Axe Edge Moor due north, the River Goyt travels through Taxal, Whaley Bridge and New Mills before joining the River Tame, near Stockport to form the River Mersey. The woodland here is managed by the Forestry Commission and the Peak District National Park authority and the woods have oak, rowan, larch and pine, making it a fantastic place in all weathers.

There are two main reservoirs in the valley, the smaller, Errwood and the larger called Fernilee which both provide drinking water to Stockport and its surrounding areas. The landscape here is truly breathtaking. Along with sailing and fishing, it is a very popular destination for cycling, horse riding and walking.

Here is home to the romantic ruins of Errwood Hall, to the Grimshaw family who had a major influence on the valley in the 19th century and they were responsible for bringing prosperity to this very small community. The mansion was built around 1840 and stored until the 1930s when it was demolished to make way for the reservoirs and avoid pollution. Now all that is left are the remains of the hall, its base nearby the Grimshaw family cemetery.

The shape of the valley has been formed over millions of years through ice ages and by the stunning River Goyt which cuts like butter through the valley. There were tea rooms in the hamlet of Goyt's Bridge, and stood and marvelled at the spectacular suspension bridge which once crossed the river. This bridge has long been demolished but there is still the old packhorse bridge near Goyt's Clough Quarry, which was reconstructed after it was removed to make way for the Errwood reservoir.

Wonderful wildlife such as red Deer, badges and foxes, hedgehogs and bats live together in harmony with the number of birds, including woodpeckers, nuthatches, lapwings and birds prey as well as grouse, canada geese and finches.

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