Sunart Fields for New Mills Festival

New Mills Festival returns in 2021 with its usual eclectic mix of events and, for perhaps the first time ever, a few events outside of New Mills at Sunart Fields Rewilding Farm near Whaley Bridge. So, why not make the journey part of the adventure?

Route details

Joining the easy-going Upper Peak Forest Canal towpath near Newtown, opposite New Mills Marina, you can enjoy almost 2.5 miles of gentle, completely traffic-free cycling all the way to Whaley Bridge.

From there, beside the historic Transhipment Warehouse, it’s possible to follow an interesting quiet route around the back of the town, avoiding its busiest road.

A short hop along the Chapel Road then leads to the turn-off for Eccles Pike and Sunart Fields — luckily, the farm is not far up this scenic quiet lane, it all makes for an easy roll back home and you’ve done your bit with a fantastically low-impact journey.

If you found this route and guide useful, check out the 25+ other Cycle Routes I’ve put together covering the local area around the High Peak, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. Each free guide has a complete route description along with history, tips and photos, all designed to get more people exploring our area by bike.

For more on the Peak Forest Canal in particular, see this route guide.

Route map

The route stats featured here are automatically generated by Komoot. For the most accurate guide, please refer to the route details above, based on actual rides recorded by Strava.

Where to start

New Mills, of course! The route mapped here begins at the mini roundabout next to The Pride of the Peaks pub. Or, depending on where you’re joining from, just head for the Peak Forest Canal off Albion Road and Victoria Street.

By train: If you’re arriving from further afield, New Mills Central railway station is right beside the start of the route (after a stiff push up Station Road beside a fabulous view of the Torrs), on the Manchester to Sheffield line.

Route description

  1. From the centre of New Mills, join Union Road and head downhill, south east, towards the traffic lights. At the traffic lights, turn right onto Albion Road. Flat at first, it soon begins to climb gently. Approaching the imposing Swizzels sweet factory, turn left just before the pedestrian crossing into Victoria Street.
Union Road crosses the spectacular Torrs above the confluence of the rivers Goyt and Sett.
  1. At the end of Victoria Street, join the Upper Peak Forest Canal towpath and turn left. Follow the towpath for approximately 2 miles, with splendid views across to Chinley Churn and down to the valley of the River Goyt. The towpath passes Furness Vale Marina and then becomes more wooded as it approaches Whaley Bridge and squeezes closer to the thundering A6 in the narrowing valley.
The Peak Forest Canal from here on has a good and dry, if rather bumpy, tarmac surface.
  1. At Whaley Bridge junction, an arm of the canal branches off towards Bugsworth Basin, severing the towpath. Crossing it requires either lifting your bike over the narrow footbridge or following a path down under the canal. This path can best be accessed immediately after the bridge carrying the A6, through a wide open gate. Follow it down (it is rather narrow and gravelly) and pass under Bridgemont Aqueduct, then dismount to push back up the cobbled ramp to the right. Continue on the towpath to Whaley Bridge wharf.
The path underneath the leaky Bridgemont Aqueduct provides an easy dose of gravel riding.
The path underneath the leaky Bridgemont Aqueduct provides an easy dose of gravel riding.
  1. From the Transhipment Warehouse, continue directly ahead towards the car park on Tom Brads Croft, then, beside some new cycle parking stands, join the bridge over the River Goyt which was previously part of the Cromford and High Peak Railway (watch out for the rails, which are still in place!). Join the road, turning right, then continue ahead again, passing through a narrow metal barrier onto the Whaley Bridge Incline.
Crossing the Goyt in Whaley Bridge thanks to the original 19th Century bridge of the Cromford & High Peak Railway.
Crossing the Goyt in Whaley Bridge thanks to the original 19th Century bridge of the Cromford & High Peak Railway.
  1. At the top of the incline, it joins Old Road through another barrier. Turn left and follow this pleasantly “access only” road all the way over to the B5470 Chapel Road. Just a short hop on this busier road is now required.
Preparing to join the busier Chapel Road for a brief hop from the end of the Old Road.
  1. Passing the Drum and Monkey pub, turn left onto Eccles Road. This lane is now easy to follow and usually wonderfully quiet as it climbs the hillside, though does gain 200 ft in half a mile, making it moderately challenging.
The left turn onto Eccles Road provides an immediate incline. Shift gears down in advance or better yet, bring an e-bike!
  1. The good news is, it’s all downhill on the way home! Simply turn around the follow the same route back. (Unless you fancy climbing right to the top of Eccles Pike?)
After following the lane to the left and then up an arrow-straight section, Sunart is here at the top, to the left.

Please note: While great care and attention has been put into gathering these routes, ensuring details are accurate and determining their suitability, all information should be used as a guide only and is not a replacement for using your own judgement or research when setting out on new adventures. Peaks & Puddles cannot be held responsible for any problems you may encounter.

Always ensure your equipment is safe for use, that you are well prepared carrying everything necessary including access to a good map. Follow the Highway Code and the Countryside Code at all times, respect the landscape and the wildlife and people you encounter. But most importantly, have fun!