The weather’s been a bit mixed over the last couple of days, but Meg and I have still have a chance to explore the area.
Yesterday morning we followed the route of the Peak Forest Tramway, built to carry limestone and gritstone over the hill from Doveholes.
Past the Navigation Inn…
…and up the tramway
The stone arch on the left carried a spur line over the entrance to what is now a smallholding, then over Black Brook. The line went to the New Road lime kilns.
There were several spurs connected to the main route, leading to cotton mills that were built to take advantage of the transport link. Returning wagons would carry coal up from the basin to feed the boilers of the steam engines.
Whitehough Mill has gone through several reincarnations, it’s now a plastics factory
Very few of the original buildings remain, although the chimney, with the top half removed, still stands.
Further up the slope, Forge Mill stood until a year or so ago.
Demolished Forge Mill, near Chinley
The chimney on this one still stands at it’s full height.
Above Chinley the surface of the track reverts to the original 200 year old hardcore. The twin rows of granite setts, drilled to mount the rails of the tramway, are still visible in places.
Support setts for the rails.
After 2 miles the tramway disappears under a modern concrete road leading to a water treatment works, then is buried under the embankment of the A6 dual carriageway heading to Buxton.
End of the line
In the distance the railway viaducts at Chapel Milton can be seen. This was the originally proposed location of the terminal basin, but the 200 foot climb would have been considerably more expensive to construct as a waterway than as a tramway.
Chapel Milton Viaducts
Later on in the afternoon we saw the trip boat NB Judith Mary II, out of Whaley Bridge, pass our mooring. You may remember she’d broken down and was towed back to base by Brian and Ann Marie on NB Alton. Well it looks like she’s still got engine trouble, but, with bookings already taken, the day boat Phoenix was pressed into service as a tug. Brian was now enjoying a new role as butty steerer.
NB Judith Mary II under tow
This morning we headed the other way, back down to the junction and to Whaley Bridge Basin. Usually where a canal branches there’s a bridge carrying the towpath across the navigation. In this case though a tunnel was built under the main line when the branch to Whaley Bridge was built
Horse tunnel under the canal. The slopes either side are cobbled to give the horses grip, but they still wouldn’t have been fun in icy weather.
Meg poses on the cobbled access ramp.
There’s a long line of permanent mooring on the towpath side, then the terminus at the basin is reached.
Whaley Bridge Basin
The transhipment warehouse was built two stories high but the upper was removed early in the 1900’s.
Looking from the other side, it’s clear that 2 boats could be loaded from wagons from the Cromford and High Peak Railway.
The “dry” side of the warehouse.
The railway was opened in July 1831 and closed in stages from 1890 to 1967. It’s now the High Peak Trail.
We came back the same way; the alternative would be via the roads including a crossing of the dual carriageway, not a challenge to be taken lightly!
At the Wharfingers house we left the towpath, dropping down to cross Black Brook near the remains of Britannia Mill.
Just a shell left of Britannia Mill.
Like a lot of the buildings at Bugsworth Basin, it’s been demolished as a good source of dressed building stone.
We came back through the village, past St. James church…
…. then, to balance the religious convictions, up the hill to have a look at the imposing Primitive Methodist chapel.
Looking down on Seyella moored in the Middle Basin
The short wall in the water was the outer wall of one of the lime sheds used to load burnt lime under cover. If it got wet it was useless for building purposes. The Basin Arm, to the right, also had a covered shed for loading boats.
Middle Basin Arm and remains of lime shed.
It’s been a good day today, mostly sunny and warm. We had two boats moored near us last night but they left this morning. We’ll be following them tomorrow.
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