Above: This photo of the Goyt at Taxal was taken from the small wooden footbridge next to the ford.

For many years an ancient packhorse bridge spanned the river here. It was washed away in a flood. But I’m not sure when.

John Sutcliffe writes: I was very pleasantly surprised indeed to watch the
old cine film of the Goyt Valley, which, needless to say, I didn’t even know existed! For my part, I am now 75 years of age, but my memories of the Goyt Valley, as a then 12-year-old boy, are as clear to me now, as if it was only yesterday when I was last there.

My particular memories are of the stretch of the river between Taxal footbridge, and upstream to the outflow from Fernilee Reservoir. I am still a keen angler, but as a lad, I was passionate about trout fishing. The thing is that, in those days, all the rivers in the Mersey catchment area, although intrinsically beautiful, were grossly polluted.

So I made it my business to consult Ordnance Survey maps and, invariably, up on the hill streams, where there were no mills or factories shown, there was the possibility of clear, pure water – which might contain fish! To that end, I got on my push-bike and cycled the 35 mile journey from Lancashire to Whaley Bridge.

The Goyt, as it ran through the town, was badly polluted – sadly no surprise there – so I cycled up to this place named Taxal, and could see, to my joy, that here the river was pristine. I remember that just upstream from the footbridge, there was a weir and pool. I sat there beside the pool eating my sandwiches and just watching the river. Suddenly, to my amazement and joy, a large trout suddenly leapt up and over the weir on its way upstream. What a sign I thought!

Suffice to say, I made a few subsequent fishing trips to the river on the old ‘North Western’ bus – and got kicked off the river more than once as I recall! I caught some lovely small wild trout amongst glorious scenery – I was lost in a world of my own!

I shall never return to the valley, which was so peaceful and quiet, the memories of those far off days are too dear and precious to me and needless to say, will always have a place in my heart. Thank you very much for your lovely website, which I am so glad I found.

That’s a lovely story, John. Many thanks for sharing it. And I’m delighted that you enjoyed my website. That spot you mention – at Taxal Bridge, is featured in one of my walk videos. Click here to view it. I’ve also posted a photo above. David.