The Goyt Valley lies in the west of the Peak District National Park on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border close to the towns of Buxton and Macclesfield.
The Goyt rises on the moors of Axe Edge, near the River Dane and the Cat and Fiddle Inn.
It flows northwards through steep rocky cloughs and is the main feeder for the Errwood and Fernilee Reservoirs. The Goyt itself becomes a tributary of the River Mersey after merging with the Etherow and Tame at Stockport.
In the Goyt Valley you can find high moorland, river and valley scenery with the man-made additions of the Fernileee and Errwood reservoirs.
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.
Fernilee was completed in 1938. It cost about £480,000 to build and holds 4940 million litres. Errwood was completed in 1967. It cost £1.5 million and holds 4215 million litres.
North West Water now own much of the Valley and surrounding moorland, which is the water catchment area for the two reservoirs. These two reservoirs supply an average of 7-8 million gallons of water a day, some direct to Whaley Bridge and the rest to the Stockport region. A fly fishing club and sailing club use Errwood Reservoir; the sailing club have a permanent clubhouse on the eastern shoreline.
Much of the moorland and the cloughs that cut across the valley, have been designated an SSSI, in recognition of its national importance. Landowners must notify and consult English Nature before carrying out any potentially damaging changes to the land. The designation helps to protect the habitat and its valued bird community. Birds found on the moors include birds of prey and golden plover which need large undisturbed areas. You might also see snipe, curlew, lapwing, skylark, meadow pipit, whinchat and ring ouzel. Wild animals found on the moor include voles, hares and foxes.
Common sandpipers and other birds breed along the reservoir banks. The noisy canada geese and mallard are the most common resident summer waterfowl.
Human influence is still shaping the moorland of the Goyt Valley. Sheep graze the moors and maintain the shrubby vegetation. Heather is burned in rotation to encourage new growth which provides food for both sheep and red grouse.
Much of this glorious landscape is readily open and accessible to walkers. The Goyt Valley is crisscrossed by a maze of excellent well sign-posted public footpaths.
Around Errwood Hall the native sessile oak and scots pine are found alongside the sweet chestnut introduced by the Romans and the European larch brought over from the Alps in the 17th century.
This estate, until 1936, was formerly home to the Grimshawe family.
Planting by the Grimshawe family included the rhododendrons which are such a feature of the present landscape and a management problem to keep in check.
From the Errwood reservoir dam the view of the valley, in either direction, with its two reservoirs is magnificent.
The recreation site facilities available at Goyt Valley include:
free car parking