The known human history of the valley goes back some 300 years but there is a good chance that 2000 years ago Romans regularly passed through en route from Mancunium (Manchester) via Melandra (Glossop) to Aqvae Arnemetiae (Buxton) and passing the known Roman site at Mellor on the way. Maybe one day we will find some proof.
Records exist of a farmhouse at Windybottom Farm dating back to 1462.
The oldest structure in the valley that still exists is the Roman Bridge, a stunning packhorse bridge in a beautiful hidden position over the narrowest and deepest section of the River Goyt, probably dating from around 1700. Prior to this a ford with stepping stones existed about 200 meters upstream from the bridge, which connected to a sunken track leading up to Strines Road.
All the other old buildings in the valley date from about
the 1790's, except the railway which was constructed in
1862. The impressive Mellor Mill, which stood at the
corner of Lakes Road and Bottoms Mill Road, was the
largest cotton spinning mill in the country when it
was completed and stood for 100 years before burning
down in 1892. Nothing remains above ground now but
the wheelpit is open for viewing.
History of Roman Lakes
The 'Roman Lakes' are not Roman at all but were christened originally Roman Bridge Lakes in Victorian times by the then owners, as an advertising angle to boost trade. It worked, they became a huge tourist attraction bringing enormous crowds from Manchester to Marple by train, especially on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The lakes themselves are actually the mill ponds constructed to raise and store water to power Samuel Oldknow's Mellor Mill in 1790, and although still popular with visitors, things are much quieter today.