Whaley Bridge is an attractive large village situated on the River Goyt in the High Peak district of Derbyshire. Until 1987 when a 4 mile bypass was built, the towns long main street was just a continuation of the A6 and the route that motorists had to take in order to cross from sprawling suburbia to the open spaces of the High Peak.
Whaley Bridge expanded greatly in the Industrial Revolution. Coal mining and agriculture had been the main industries but by 1871 cotton mills had become the dominant industry.
Self-styled as the 'Gateway to the Goyt' Whaley Bridge attracts many tourists, mainly walkers because of its natural beauty - waterways, woodlands and attractive hills, but it has not become dominated by the tourist industry. With a good commuter railway service to Manchester many people travel to work in Greater Manchester or in Cheshire and the town has continued to expand as new housing is built. The present population is around 7000.
The Peak Forest Canal and basin were built in the 1790s. and opened in 1800. The Transhipment Warehouse, built in 1832 is where building goods and minerals were transferred to and from the many working canal boats servicing local industry.
There is a new joint project between British Waterways and several Whaley Bridge community groups to bring this important building back to life, and to serve as a centre of the Whaley Bridge community. The canal is still in use by pleasure craft. One longboat has been turned into a floating restaurant.
The Cromford and High Peak Railway was granted Parliamentary consent in 1825 and was fully opened for passenger and goods traffic by 1831. The railway linked the wharf at the head of the Whaley Bridge Branch of the Peak Forest Canal to the Cromford Canal at Cromford Wharf.
The town has been twinned with Tymbark, Poland since June 1994. Whaley Bridge has an annual carnival week followed by traditional well dressing in June each year. There are several pubs including the Jodrell Arms, the Goyt Inn, and the White Hart. Despite the presence of a Tesco, the town retains many specialist shops and regular farmers markets are held in the Uniting church.