A Marine Cruises canal holiday on the Caldon Canal
A Canal Holiday on the Caldon Canal
The wonderful Caldon Canal is a little gem of a waterway that follows a twisting and turning course down the narrow Caldon Valley, gradually becoming enclosed by steep wooded hillsides and increasingly hidden from the outside world. Many people have it top of their ‘favourite canals’ list because of its isolation, fine scenery and general laid back appeal. From Swanley Bridge Marina allow two weeks.
The Caldon Canal leaves Stoke on Trent by Etruria Industrial Museum, the last steam powered potters’ mill in Britain and well worth a visit. It travels through what was once the heart of the potteries industrial area, but very soon leaves that behind as the canal follows a beautiful green Staffordshire valley towards the very isolated areas around Consall Forge and Froghall. The Caldon Canal splits at Hazlehurst with the main Froghall line dropping down three locks to be crossed by the Leek branch as it swings to the north. The fine massive brick single arch of Hazlehurst (or Denford) Aqueduct, built in 1841, is ornately decorated and engraved and is a rare example of a waterways ‘flyover’, an aqueduct carrying one canal over another. The short branch of the Caldon Canal to Leek is a superb stretch of canal which now finishes just outside the town, the original canal basin having been filled in long ago. It is well worth the short walk to Leek though, a fine moorland town full of interesting antique shops and pubs!
Cheddleton Flint Mill has a waterwheel which was used for grinding flint for the potteries trade. The canal joins the River Churnet for a fabulous one mile stretch wooded valley to Consall Forge, now a mere settlement of a few houses and a pub, but was once a hive of industry employing hundreds of men, the remains of the lime kilns can still be seen. The restored Churnet Valley Railway runs steam trains alongside this stretch. The canal from here is very narrow and clings to the steep wooded valley sides down to the current terminus at Froghall basin reached under a very low tunnel. There are ambitious plans to restore the original route to Uttoxeter.
Caldon Canal facts…
Runs from Etruria to Froghall and to Leek. The canal originally went a further 13 miles from Froghall to Uttoxter but this was closed in 1847 and used as the bed for a railway.
Junctions Etruria with the Trent and Mersey Canal. The canal splits at Hazlehurst with a branch to Leek.