Above: Elaine asks about this wonderful photo of the Gunpowder Mill band which must have been taken in the early 1900s – or perhaps even the 1890s.

Elaine writes to say;

I have recently revisited Goyt Valley for the first time in over 30 years and will not leave it as long next time. During the 1950s, I used to travel from Nottingham to my aunt and uncle’s farm in Rossendale.

Early on, we travelled by the trans-pennine express from Ilkeston to Manchester and when my Dad got his own transport I was anxious we took the same route because from an early age I had loved the journey through the Peaks, especially the part from Buxton to Whaley Bridge along the winding road above the valley.

I called it the Snake Pass at the time on account of it’s switch back nature and was surprised to learn of the other route of that name. We used to stop to admire the beautiful views at a layby somewhere above Fernilee reservoir.

We made the journey in all seasons but I particularly recall the purple moorlands of summer and the snowy winters. It was usually dark on our return journey and I have a recollection of either cats eyes or reflective paint on the posts at the roads edge.

I didn’t actually visit the valley until the early seventies when I still lived in Nottingham. I used to catch the same trans-pennine service to Buxton and walk various routes from there.

Recently I came on a day trip to Buxton, from Leeds, and caught a bus to Fernilee then walked down and along the stream to Taxel before turning south along the reservoir then crossing the head and picking up the Midshires way back to Buxton.

As well as the stunning scenery and bracing air I had so many long and happy memories, but was sad to hear that the Cat and Fiddle is currently closed. I hope it does not go the same way as the Saltergate Inn on the North York Moors.

I was intrigued by the photograph of the Chilwell Gun Powder band and am not sure if this particular Chilwell is local to Goyt? There was a gun powder factory at Chilwell Nottingham and a terrible explosion in 1918 when over 130 employees were killed.

Thank you once again for the contents of your website.

Many thanks for getting in touch, Elaine. And I’m delighted you enjoy the website. The gunpowder mill at Fernilee was also known as the Chilworth Gunpowder Mill. I’m not sure whether it was related to the Chilwell Mill you mention. Joyce Winfield has written a wonderful little book on the history of the mill (view an extract). I’ll ask her if she knows the answer to your question. David