BL Walk 2.                New Mills (Newtown) to Disley

The Route:    Newtown station, Albion Road, Chapel Street, Peak Forest Canal towpath, Hag Bank Lane, Market Street (Disley), Disley station

Starting point:        New Mills (Newtown) station. (G.R. SJ 995847)

Distance:     3 miles (4.8 km)

Ascent:        Apparently there’s 340 feet (104 metres) of ascent in this walk, but that’s hard to believe.

Map:   OS outdoor Leisure No. 1, The Dark Peak

How to get there:  Daily train service to New Mills Newtown and Disley from Manchester, Stockport and Buxton.

New Mills (Newtown) station

The Walk:     From New Mills Newtown station, walk down Albion Road and across the canal.  Unusually, there’s no access onto the canal at this point, so walk a little further and just after the pedestrian crossing, turn right into Victoria Street.  At the end of this short street a rough path continues up onto the canal towpath.  Here turn right. 

On the opposite bank you can see a large wooden post, which is the remains of a wharf crane. 

Go along the towpath, soon passing underneath Albion Road and coming alongside the Swizzels- Matlow factory. 

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what this factory produces.  The sugary smell soon gives that away. Swizzels - Matlow is a traditional manufacturer of sweets. Their best known sweets include Love Hearts, Double Lollies, Drumsticks and Parma Violets. The company relocated to New Mills in 1940 after the Blitz.  The company was started in 1928 by Alf and Maurice Matlow.  In 1933, following an association with David Dee the company became Swizzels Limited, changing name again in 1975 to the current title, Swizzels Matlow Ltd.

Having past the factory the canal becomes very rural and it is difficult to imagine that the main A6 road and the Buxton line are only a few yards away to your left and that the main Sheffield-Manchester railway line is close by to your right.  None of these can be seen, though they can be heard.  The walk along the towpath is no more than a gentle stroll, passing a winding hole on your left and on your right the mechanism for a sluice to empty the canal for maintenance.  At Bridge 27 you follow the towpath under the arch and at the other  side join a narrow private road for a few yards before the usual towpath resumes. Soon you reach Bridge 26. 

(If time presses, it is possible to leave the canal here and, passing over the bridge, turn right and make your way up into Disley.  To do this you’ll have to go just beyond the bridge and turn right, by the information board and go up the ramp to the road).

If time is not particularly pressing, carry on along the towpath which now swings away to the right, until you reach Bridge 25.  This is Higgins Clough swing bridge, one of a number on this canal.  The large STOP sign does seem a trifle superfluous.


Bridge 25 (Disley) on Peak Forest Canal
Go over the bridge and bear left up Hagg Bank Lane.  A short sharp climb now ensues, but there’s an unusual view to the left over towards Kinder Scout.  Having climbed up, the lane now descends to join Hollinwood Road and pass under the Buxton line by a very low arched bridge.  Then it’s uphill again, to emerge on the A6 by the Dandy Cock pub.  Go right and at the traffic lights, cross the A6 and make your way to the station, passing the Rams Head pub on your left.