STOKE ON TRENT AND THE POTTERIES FROM POYNTON
You can do this route from :
Lord Vernon's Wharf.
The Staffordshire Potteries is the industrial area encompassing the six towns, Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton that now make up the city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England.
With an unrivalled heritage and very bright future, Stoke-on-Trent (affectionately known as The Potteries), is officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics.
Visit award winning museums and visitor centres, see world renowned collections, go on a factory tour and meet the skilled workers or have a go yourself at creating your own masterpiece!
Buy from the home of ceramics where quality products are designed and manufactured. Wedgwood, Portmeirion, Aynsley, Emma Bridgewater, Burleigh and Moorcroft are just a few of the leading brands you will find here. Search for a bargain in over 20 pottery factory shops in Stoke-on-Trent or it it's something other than pottery that you want, then why not visit intu Potteries?
For your first night you will cruise for around two hours, to Clarks Change Bridge No. 29, 5 miles away.
Leaving the marina, you will soon be at Bridge 18, where there is a convenient pub called the Miners Arms, where you can moor up if you wish. There is a beer garden and children are welcome.
Cruising south, the canal meanders through wooded areas, small villages, and a few pubs en route, where you can stop if you wish. Soon you will reach the outskirts of Bollington, a suburb of Macclesfield. Bridge 29 is just south of Bollington, so if you moor along this stretch, there are some pubs – Dog and Partridge west of Bollington aquedut and bridge 27 (garden, children welcome); Holly Bush in Bollington (beer garden), and The Plaice in Bollington (licensed fish restaurant).
Today you will encounter your first locks.
If you want to moor up and go into Macclesfield, the best place to moor is near Bridge 37, where you will see a vast old converted mill overlooking the canal. Built in the 1820's, it is the Hovis Mill, where flour was milled. It is now luxury apartments. Pubs in Macclesfield include Dolphin Inn, Navigation, Puss In Boots, and Britannia. All have a garden and children are welcome.
As you leave Macclesfield, you will soon reach the Gurnett Aqueduct, with a pub nearby, the Old Kings Head, with a garden, children welcome.
A little further on is Royal Oak Swing Bridge in Oakgrove, you will see the foothills and mountains of the Pennines, tumbling down towards the canal, which is now quite remote and quiet. Shortly, you will reach your first locks, Bosley Locks, a flight of 11. At the end of the flight is another small aqueduct, Dane Aqueduct.
Round a large curve, then under the railway viaduct, and soon you will reach the hamlet of Buglawton, a suburb of Congleton, to the right of the canal. There is a pub near here called Robin Hood, which it is claimed, is haunted! It dates from 1787, and was the Court Room, and is south west of bridge 61.
Moving on, you will soon be in Congleton, a busy market town. Moor up and have a look around if you wish. There are shops, restaurants, walks, cycle routes, and Mow Cop Castle to see. Some of the local pubs are Wharf Inn and Moss Inn, both with gardens, and children and welcome.
It is 7.5 hours to here
Leaving Congleton behind, Watery Lane Aqueduct is next, then the canal runs straight, through a series of bridges. Scholar Green, is to your right. This is a small village, again with some pubs – Travellers Rest and Rising Sun, both welcoming children and have gardens.
Soon the Junction with the Trent & Mersey canal is reached which is exiting and unusual! After the Red Bull aqueduct, the Macclesfield Canal crosses the Trent & Mersey canal over the Poole Aqueduct and joins it at the Hardings Wood Junction.
You turn right onto the Trent & mersey canal towards Stoke on Trent and within half a mile you reach the Harecastle Tunnel which is 2926 yards long (1.66 miles) It takes around 30 – 40 minutes to cruise through the tunnel. You need to find out the opening times.
Legend has it that in the 1800's a young woman was decapitated in the Tunnel and her body thrown into a coal landing stage inside the Tunnel, called Gilbert's Hole. So look out for her ghost in the form of a white horse, or a headless woman. . . Some tunnel keepers will also tell you tales of a number of boats that went in, but maybe one less came out!
A one way system operates so follow the tunnel-keepers instructions.
The canal passes the Westport lake which is very popular with fisherman and to your left the Middleport Pottery complete with kilns, cranes & cobbles right beside the Canal.
Etruria is off to your right, there is a Toby Carvery right by the canal and it is home to Festival park, Stoke on Trents largest retail park, also home to Waterworld if you fancy a jacuzzi or the kids wnat to get rid of some energy on the long waterslides! There is also a cinema on site, and many restaurants and food outlets.
It is 4.5 hours to here so a convenient place to moor for the night.
Continue south down the Trent & Mersey canal, and just half a mile further on take the left turn to the Caldon Canal.
At the Junction is Jesse Shirley's Etruscan Bone & Flint mill
It is open 11-4.30pm every day, and the beam engine and mill are in steam at various times during the day.
This is a Victorian steam powered millers works built in 1857 and which ground bone, flint and stone for the pottery industry, and there are plenty of moorings here.
Soon you cruise past a statue of James Brindley, the builder of the Trent & mersey canal. The first 2 locks you reach are combined to form a staircase. There are shops & pubs close to Planet Lock, and at Hanley park are good moorings.
There are a few lift bridges along this stretch so you will need your BW key., also be aware that some of the other bridges are very low, so if you have bikes on the top of your boat you may have to take them off.
Walk north from Bridge 8 along Lichfield street and you will find the Potteries Shopping Centre, with over 80 shops it is the premier shopping destination in the heart of Staffordshire.
To the left off Potteries Way you will find The Potteries Museum & Art gallery where the history of the area is brought to life. Just north of Bridge 8 is the Bridegwater factory shop.
Further on the village of Milton is on the side of a hill to your left, there are a couple of pubs here, & stores & take-aways.
Turn here and begin your journey back. it is 2.75 hours from Etruria to here, so time to make your way back to explore the Potteries and of course the ceramic shops,
It is about 16 hours back to Higher Poynton, so 2 full days cruising if you wish to have a few stops on the way back!
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
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