East of the M60‘s look at the Derbyshire village
The village of Hayfield for many walkers is both a starting point and a footnote in social history. In the latter guise it is associated with the Mass Trespass of Kinder Scout which took place on the 24 April 1932.
Led by Benny Rothman from the Young Communist League’s Manchester branch, it highlighted one concern. That ramblers didn’t have the right to enjoy their countryside thanks to private landowners and gamekeepers. The trespass began at Bowden Bridge quarry with the route to Kinder Scout via William Clough. Their arrival was met by violent scuffles with gamekeepers.
After meeting their destination they met up with other walkers. Five of them were arrested for unlawful assembly – later riotous assembly at Chester Assizes. Arguably, The Mass Trespass inspired the formation of our National Parks. Appropriately for this feature, our first one was the Peak National Park which covers Hayfield.
After sustained campaigning it led to Labour’s Right to Roam laws in 2000. In 1982, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the Mass Trespass’ 50th anniversary at Bowden Bridge quarry. Today, it is used by motorists as well as hikers.
Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Rambler…?
Among Hayfield’s famous sons is Arthur Lowe. Born on the 22 September 1915, his father worked for the railways, in charge of moving theatrical touring companies on special trains. He made his stage debut at the Manchester Repertory Theatre and, in 1960, landed the part of Leonard Swindley in an obscure soap opera set in Manchester.
Though Coronation Street signalled his televisual breakthrough, his most notable role was Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army. Besides the BBC’s much loved and often repeated comedy series, he was the voice of the Mr. Men in the animated series based on Roger Hargreaves’ books.
Got my mind Sett on you…
Making the connection between Kinder Scout and Arthur Lowe’s father was the Hayfield branch line from New Mills Central. Closing on the 04 January 1970, most of the 2.5 mile former branch line is the Sett Valley Trail. The YouTube clip seen above shows the line in its twilight years, two years before closure.
For the best part of an hour, the Sett Valley Trail offers an easy walking route to New Mills – ideal for pushchairs and people with limited mobility. It takes in the villages of Thornsett and Low Leighton along the way and runs parallel with the River Sett. The walk finishes at New Mills leisure centre, stopping short of the town centre.
The soft waters of the River Sett made Hayfield an attractive spot for cotton weaving, spinning and calico printing. Today it is an attractive place for Mancunian and Stopfordian commuters to set up home. Its nearest major town is Glossop, a short journey on High Peak’s 61 service.
The village’s bus station is at the eastern part of the Sett Valley Trail. There is public toilets and a small visitor centre. New Mills Central – thanks to Doctor Beeching – is its nearest railway station.
- 236/237 (Stagecoach Manchester) from Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge and Mottram-in-Longdendale to Glossop, then 61 service (High Peak) for Buxton to Hayfield bus station.
- 341 (Stott’s Tours) from Hyde, Backbower, Hattersley and Broadbottom to Glossop for 61 service.
- 343 (Stott’s Tours/Stagecoach Manchester) from Mossley to Stalybridge (Armentieres Square), or Dukinfield to Stalybridge for 236/237 (Stagecoach Manchester) and 61 (High Peak) buses.
- Hadfield train (Northern Rail) from Fairfield to Broadbottom up to Glossop then 61 bus to Hayfield.
- Rose Hill Marple train (Northern Rail) from Guide Bridge to Hyde Central for Rose Hill Marple then 358 (Stagecoach Manchester) bus service to Hayfield.
- Manchester Victoria train (Northern Rail) from Mossley to Stalybridge, then change for 236/237 at bus stop outside railway station for Glossop to meet up with 61 to Hayfield.
- 192 (Stagecoach Manchester) from Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Heaviley and Davenport up to Stockport. Change for 358 bus to Hayfield at Stockport bus station.
- 358 (Stagecoach Manchester) direct from Offerton, Marple and Strines to Hayfield.
- 203 or 7/7A (both Stagecoach Manchester) from Reddish to Stockport bus station for 358 to Hayfield.
- 42 (Stagecoach Manchester) from Heaton Mersey to Stockport bus station for 358 service.
- Rose Hill Marple or Marple trains (Northern Rail) from Brinnington, Bredbury, Woodley and Romiley stations then 358 bus to Hayfield.
From Oldham and Saddleworth
- 350 (First Greater Manchester/Stagecoach Manchester) from Oldham and most Saddleworth villages to Ashton-under-Lyne then 236/237 (Stagecoach Manchester) to Glossop for 61 (High Peak) bus to Hayfield.
- 343 (Stott’s Tours/Stagecoach Manchester) from Lees and Grotton up to Stalybridge (Armentieres Square) for 236/237 (Stagecoach Manchester) to Glossop to meet 61 (High Peak) bus to Hayfield.
- 409 (First Greater Manchester) from Summit to Hathershaw via Oldham for Ashton-under-Lyne for 236/237 (Stagecoach Manchester). Change at Glossop and 61 (High Peak) buses.
S.V., 03 July 2015.