GUIDE TO THE RIVER GOYT
(New Mills to Brabyns Park)
NAME OF RIVER: Goyt.
WHERE IS IT?: This section of the Goyt begins in New Mills a short way after the confluence with the Sett, SK 0011 8525, and finishes at Brabyns Park, SJ 9637 8978, in Marple. It’s worth continuing a run to the MCC slalom site to take in the best of the river (this section is described in a separate guide). The river can also be paddled from Whalley Bridge when in spate.
The trip can be split in 2; New Mills to Roman Lakes, SJ 9697 8782, and Roman Lakes to Brabyns/MCC site.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Plenty of options, especially if you use the canal.
Get on at New Mills Central station, parking can be an issue but just drop boats and park up near Swizzles and walk down to the river.
Alternative get on/off at car park below Hague Bar or at Roman Lakes.
Get off up steep bank above weirs in Brabyns Park or continue to MCC course for another hour of decent paddling.
APPROX LENGTH: 1.5km from New Mills to Hague Bar.
6km from New Mills to Roman Lakes.
8.4km from New Mills to Brabyns Park.
TIME NEEDED: In canoes in low water conditions the trip from New Mills to Brabyns Park took about 4 hours (30-60 mins extra to get to MCC) + shuttle time.
ACCESS HASSLES: There are no problems with access to and from the water at a number of points along the route. If getting on or off at Roman Lakes it may be worth popping in to the centre first as a courtesy as you’ll need to park on their land. Manchester Canoe Club are a good source of information on this river.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Use the EA River Gauge at Brabyns Park. The minimum levels for canoe are around 0.5m and kayak a bit lower.
GRADING: The Goyt can vary between being a fairly placid and rocky river (grade 2), with long flat sections between weirs and rapids, and fast flowing with many potential hazards (grade 3+) after heavy rain. This section is a 2(3) with weirs at normal flows.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:
Weirs: There are three 2 or 3 metre vertical weirs, with closed ends; some requiring a portage and many more to inspect & run.
Trees: One portage and a few close calls in Feb 2012 but always a hazard here.
Ledge Drop: The hardest section on the river at Marple Bridge, SJ 9645 8920, just above Brabyns Park. Inspectable and portagable, normally shot on the left.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Hardest rapid of the first section is at the Station get on, a rocky zig-zag which becomes easier as water levels rise. From here it is a mix of flat and 1/2 with many trees and branches to watch out for before the 1st vertical weir.
This weir is before the Paper Mill and drops a good 6 feet onto rocks and can be portaged on river right through the fields. Get back on just below or in high water, 50m further downstream.
After the Mill a long pipe appears river left, this lets you know the next weir is coming. A 1.5ft slope at a wide section of the river. I’ve never portaged it but it could possibly be done left or right. Shortly after this a large sloped ‘smiling’ weir is encountered. About 5ft total drop with strong eddies left and right. Portage right if required (up for another go!). At 0.5m it surfs well in a canoe.
More riffely rapids until the walls of the woods close in either side of the river and the railway line comes in close river right. Time to wake up, as soon as you see the viaduct, SJ 9675 8760, get out river right and carry to the track. Below here is a huge vertical weir, not one for canoes.
Carry or trolley your boats a few hundred metres down to the lay-by near the Roman Lakes centre and put back on down steep banks. There is a far quicker alternative method but you’ll need to suss it out for yourselves.
Best section of the river so far comes next. Lots of Gd 1/2 rapids in pleasant scenery leading into Marple town leading into the final rapids when the houses close in above.
The final rapid is generally known as the Ledge Drop and comes just before the road bridge before Brabyns Park. It is a drop of about 2ft in low water with a tight line for canoes but more choices in kayaks. Inspect/portage/arrange safety cover on the right bank.
Finish rerunning the drop with an audience and then head down under the bridge and into Brabyns Park where you should consider escape to the cars rapidly before the banks get steep. Next interest is the sloped weir at the EA gauge discussed in the next guide.
OTHER NOTES: The Peak Forest Canal follow the river all along this section and, although it can be a bit of a steep walk, some good ‘no shuttle’ trips could be worked out.
Videos of this section are available on the Peak Instruction channel on YouTube.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Pete Knight – www.peakinstruction.com
Grid refs added & content on this section that was previously in the guide to the lower section merged in by Chris Bolton 22 March 2013