A walk through the northern industrial past

One of the things I love about the area I live in is its history: the landscape is littered with relics of the manufacturing might of the Victorian era. Like so many Lowry paintings, the hills and peaks of the northwest of England are punctuated with mills, factories and disused railways (many of which have been re-purposed as stunning cycle paths), and those views, where industry cuts black swathes through the countryside, are some of my favourite in the world.  It was once said that Joy Division’s music was the sound of exactly that, the meeting of the wild moors and peaks that dominate Ian Curtis’s home town of Macclesfield and the industrial clatter of nearby Cottonopolis (Manchester). So maybe my love of this landscape explains my love of Joy Division. On Sunday, Saul, Fig and I went walking along the river in one small Peak District town, New Mills, taking in the ruins of Victoria’s industrial England.

Our walk began, as so many in this region do, looking down. The remarkable Millenium Bridge afforded extraordinary views of the abandoned – though recently re-glazed – mill by the river’s edge.

We wandered along the river, taking in the beauty of the brickwork of bridges and tunnels along the way, as well as an Archimedes screw used to power the town when the river is high enough.  The trees were a froth of lime green new leaves, and the whole valley burst with life – man and nature side by side.

Fig, snug in his Babybjorn, took it all in.  Like mother, like son.



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