Sett Valley Trail
The Sett Valley Trail is built upon the former New Mills - Hayfield railway line which closed down in 1970. The trail is a gentle path around 4 km in length that proves popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The trail is particularly popular with young families, due to being remarkably flat and easy going for the area. Gates before the few road crossings also make sure that children can be kept safe away from traffic.
Bikes can be hired at the Hayfield end of the trail (there is also a large car park at this end).
Peak Forest Canal Trail
The Peak Forest Canal provides a pleasant network of walkways that stretch from Whaley Bridge through New Mills to Marple and beyond. Also connects into the larger network of national canals, allowing barges to travel through much of Britain.
New Mills Canal Basin is near Brunswick Mill and New Mills Newtown station and is a good starting point for walks in either direction. If you're looking to hire a barge for a day, several days or just a few hours, most bookable services run from the Whaley Bridge basin. The Judith Mary II is recommended for 2 hour cruises with an evening meal.
High Lea Park
High Lea Park is the largest park in New Mills. It provides wide areas ideal for playing football and cricket in the summer, as well as a well equipped children's playground, a paddling pool and woodland well suited to bmx scrambling. When snow falls, the slopes prove popular with younger sledgers.
The hall is used for a variety of community activities over the year, while the park is the site of the town bonfire on the nearest saturday evening to Bonfire/Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) and hosts the One World Festival (featuring stalls, displays and live music with an environmental theme) in late June each year.
New Mills Heritage Centre opened around 1989 and provides a good guide to the industrial/urban history of the town, as well as information about walks and sightseeing in the local area.
For younger visitors, the highlight is the reconstruction of a coal mine, of the sort briefly constructed in the hills around New Mills and a large scale model of the town in the mid 19th century.
Anyone interested in industrial history will find the remains of the mills in the Torrs interesting, particularly down by the weir, although it's worth calling into the Heritage Centre first as the information within will give you a better idea of what you're looking at.
The more complete, although derilict, Torr Vale Mill is also in the Torrs and can be seen from the Millennium Walkway. The only mill that remains in use is Brunswick Mill, now used by Swizzels Matlow for sweet production, and this can be seen opposite New Mills Newtown station.
The Millennium Walkway
The Millennium Walkway was built with a grant from the Millennium Development Fund in order to link the two sections of The Torrs that were previously inaccessible to each other without going up into town and back down the other side. This allows the entire New Mills section of the coast-to-coast walkway to be completed on public paths.
The walkway stretches for around 100 metres, pined to the support wall of the railway and hovering above the Goyt river as it curves around the remains of Torr Vale Mill. It was actually (and unusually for this country) finished in time for the Millennium and featured as one of the 6 special edition Milennium stamps issued by the Post Office.
A dedication to Stan Brewster was added to the Walkway in 2005. Stan was the chief civil engineer on the project but tragically lost his life in the July 7th London Bombings.
Tour The Torrs
The Torrs, or The Torrs Riverside Park, or The Park Under The Town, depending upon what the town council are calling it this week, is the centrepiece of New Mills, and the main attraction for any visitor coming to town.
Naturally formed by the merging Sett and Goyt rivers, and then further mined out during the development of the mills, the gorge itself is around 300-400 metres in length and forms part of a network of paths that stretch from coast to coast across Northern England. The park is a good start point for a number of walks in the area, towards Strines, Marple, Whaley Bridge and Hayfield (via the Sett Valley Trail). It also features a small picnic area by the weir.