STOKE ON TRENT AND THE POTTERIES INCLUDING WEDGWOOD FROM KINGS ORCHARD MARINA
You can do this route from :
Kings Orchard Marina.
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!
Come and 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?
Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holidayRead our cruising notes.
The canal winds its way slowly through glorious countryside, with a lock-free nine miles after Wood End Lock. The River Trent comes close as the canal passes through Handsacre and Armitage (best known for Armitage Shanks bathrooms), but also with links to the pottery family made famous by Josiah Spode the Elder. Just outside Armitage, watch out for oncoming boats as the canal narrows to one boat width where there was once a tunnel.
The chimneys of Rugeley’s power station can be seen as you pass the town, then the canal crosses the River Trent over an aqueduct and the river stays close for the next few miles. The huge expanse of Cannock Chase can be seen to the south. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers 26 square miles and was once a Norman hunting ground. A herd of fallow deer are descended from generations of deer who grazed here.
Passing through Colwich Lock, one of this journey’s highlights, Shugborough Hall, peeps over the canal and calls you to visit. The estate, dating back to 1693 and now a National Trust property, was once the ancestral home of the Earls of Lichfield of which the 5th Earl, Patrick Lichfield the photographer, was perhaps the most well-known.
As you leave Great Haywood, stay on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Great Haywood Junction, just after Haywood Lock 22.
After a slight curve in the canal to the right, the next stretch is reasonably straight, and quiet, and as you approach Ingestre Bridge No. 78, you will see Ingestre Hall, half a mile south of the bridge. This was originally the home of the Earls of Shrewsbury, and is now a residential arts centre, which is not open to the public.
Cruise on to Weston-upon-Trent, a pretty village with cottages mixed with new houses. There is a pub in the village called The Woolpack.
From Weston-upon-Trent the canal meanders through peaceful meadows, through the villages of Sandon and Burston.
Sandon is a small estate village, and Burston is a pretty hamlet, set around a village pond, and for the most part, untouched by modern times.
There are pubs in both places – The Dog and Doublet in Sandon and The Greyhound Inn in Burston.
Next, the canal passes through the peaceful Trent Valley water meadows, until you reach the outskirts of Stone, where you will find Aston Bridge No. 90.
Stone is a busy, pleasant town, with excellent shopping facilities. At the canalside there are dry docks, wharves and old brewery buildings, as well as the old priory church which in 1751 was rebuilt by the parishioners. There are also plenty of pubs and restaurants to choose from if you want a meal before setting off, for example: The Star (canalside); The Three Crowns; The Crown Hotel.
Leaving Stone, you continue through the last locks of the Stone flight, look out for the little tunnel under the road for boat horses by lock 29. You will be cruising up the valley to Meaford, via a series of locks and bridges, and for a time, the railway runs adjacent to the canal.
Soon you will approach Barlaston, a small, sprawling village, moor by the Plume of Feathers a canalside pub, The pub has a good selection of real ales and good food.
Within a short distance you will come to Bridge 104 where there are some good moorings which enable you to visit the Wedgwood Pottery, set back from the canal.
The World of Wedgwood, a unique, interactive visitor centre experience celebrating the very best of British craftsmanship. Experience Wedgwood for the day through shopping, food, visitor tours and art and craft workshops. You can get a factory tour and the Museum is well worth seeing, also the factory shop.
Also from here, you can reach Newstead Wood and Hem Heath Nature Reserves, both large open spaces, and a brief reprieve before you reach Stoke on Trent.
Leaving Wedgwood you negotiate Trentham Lock, and if it's nearing lunchtime, in Trentham Village there is a Toby Carvery.
Trentham Gardens can be found a short walk to the west from Bridge 106 on the southern fringes of Stoke.
The nearer you get to Stoke on Trent, the busier the canal becomes, with rebuilding of old factories and evidence of the city's pottery industry all around. The canal cuts directly through the middle of this sprawling conurbation set in amongst hilly valleys and areas of reclaimed industry and the beginnings of large scale redevelopment. There are large brownfield sites throughout Stoke but also large areas of parkland to be seen from the canal.
There is a wide choice of shops to re-stock provisions on the journey through Stoke, as well as The Potteries Shopping Centre for all non-food shopping needs.
Among good places to visit whilst you are in Stoke on Trent are the Etruria Industrial Museum, The home of Jesse Shirley’s 1857 Bone and Flint Mill, the only remaining operational Steam Driven Potters' Mill in the world, opening times are limited so see website for details.It is situated between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the staircase locks flight of the Caldon Canal.
Just a short walk from here is Festival park, Stoke on Trents largest retail park, also home to Waterworld if you fancy a jacuzzi or the kids want to get rid of some energy on the long waterslides! There is also a cinema on site, and many restaurants and food outlets.
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.
Maps and Guides
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