The Sett Valley Trail runs from New Mills to Hayfield along the line of the old railway. It’s nice and flat – although ever-so-slightly on an incline on the way to Hayfield – and designed for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders, so no problems with access. It’s a good one for trailers, but the downside of gates rather than stiles is that you do have to hop on and off (and find a place to prop your bike) so you can open and close them, although quite often the trail is busy so you might be able to persuade some walkers to hold them open for you.
Start/Finish: New Mills Leisure Centre, SK22 4BP
Distance: 5.5 miles
Suitable for: Families, tagalongs, trailers (not recommended for road bikes)
If you don’t mind a short section of road, it’s possible to link up with the Marple canal and extend the ride to Whaley Bridge. That would be a good option if you started from Hayfield.
You can also start by the station in New Mills. This route takes you down to the river, where you ride over the stunning Millenium Bridge and detour to see the weir powering the Torrs Hydro archimedes screw in action – a green energy project. The ride up to the join the trail is on steep cobbles. You have been warned.