Today Sue and I would have set off from The Navigation if we could have found it (it’s in Marple on the main road by the canal), but we soon caught up with the twenty or so folk from SWOG who were ambling along the towpath in Jack’s delicate care.
We soon passed a converted mill building near where various short side branches of the Peak Forest Canal, to now disused mills and lime kilns, have been blocked off for some time.
However, it’s good to see the main canal, part of the 98 mile circuit that is the ‘Cheshire Ring’, in fine working order.
We wandered along to the aqueduct that dates from 1800. This is the highest canal aqueduct in England and the highest masonry-arch aqueduct in Britain. In the 1960s it was faced with demolition, but was saved with the help of a politician, Geoffrey Rippon.
This is a route that I used for ‘pushchair walks’ with my children back in the 1980s. Until recently views of the arches have been obscured by the uncontrolled growth of self-set trees, but these have recently been felled and the path has been upgraded, allowing easier access and good views through the arches of the aqueduct to those of the more recent railway viaduct.
It’s the time of year, as readers may already have noticed, when fields in this part of the world that aren’t being used for other crops are a yellow riot of buttercups, as here on the approach to the Watermeetings Farms.
After a pleasant stretch alongside the Goyt, and an illustrated history of Compstall from Jack, we turned towards Brabyns Park, past The George, which until recently was a vibrant pub with a fine bowling green, utilised on various occasions as a start and finish point for our evening walks.
But not today…
By contrast, the old iron bridge that leads into the park now sports a viewing platform and an impressive information plaque.
The bridge dates from 1813 and is apparently the only remaining cast iron bridge in the north west of England.
A little way upstream is one of many weirs built when the River Goyt provided power for numerous mills hereabouts.
A walk in the park saw us pause beside this mill pond for Jack’s final speech.
Thanks go to Jack for his informative efforts, the highlight of his commentary being to point out the curious nature of one of the occupants of the cemetery that we passed before adjourning for an excellent beverage in The Navigation.
Here’s our route – 7.5 km in well under 2 hours. One of many options for a short walk in this area.