Monday, 12 April 2010

Goyt

An early start this morning, taking Malcolm's mum to Manchester airport, via Chesterfield, to pick up her friend Mary on the way. As usual, all went well until we got to Stockport, where the A6 meets the M60. There is no 'proper' junction at this point, instead, you are directed all around the back-streets of Stockport, trying to dodge bus lanes, cycle lanes, parked vehicles, pedestrians and goodness-knows-what. All this would be OK if it were not for the total lack of intelligible roadsigns.
Eventually, we got to the airport and after dropping off Pat and Mary, we headed home via Macclesfield and the 'Cat and Fiddle' road over the moors towards Buxton. We stopped for a walk and a coffee at the Goyt Valley.
The name of the valley is associated with the dialect word goyt or goit for stream or watercourse, which comes from the Old English word gota.
Around 280 to 350 million years ago, mud gravel and sand were washed down to the Peak District area by a vast river from what is now the highlands of Scotland. These layers of mud and sand were laid down in the waters of the estuary of the river. Over millions of years the mud and sand were compressed to become layers of shale and grit-stone rock.
Successive Ice Ages shaped the exposed shale and grit-stone and later still the river Goyt started to carve out the valley as we see it today. The layers of carboniferous grits and shales reach their highest point at Shining Tor (1800ft).
An increased demand for drinking water in the early 20th century led Stockport Corporation Waterworks to acquire Goyt Valley for the building of two reservoirs. By 1930 the farms and houses were empty and demolished in order to provide an uncontaminated water catchment area.
The whole area is picturesque and, on days like today, silent - except for the singing birds, babbling water and, surprisingly this morning, a Tawny Owl hooting!
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