WEDGWOOD FACTORY AND THE HARECASTLE TUNNEL FROM ANDERTON

 

Route Info | Boats | Map overview of route | Cruising Notes | Maps & Guides | Links | Pub Guide

 

You can do this route from :
Anderton Marina.

Anderton Marina

Cheshire

 

Do a Wedgwood Factory Tour and see craftsmen at work in the heart of the Potteries, utilising unique artisan skills and techniques honed over 250 years at Barlaston, the home of Wedgwood.
The award winning Factory Tour offers an indepth view of all aspects of quality ceramic production including casting, figure making, pattern decorating and hand painting, ornamentation and gilding. See iconic Jasper pieces in production showcasing the pinnacle of ceramic craftsmanship.
The largest Wedgwood retail space in the world, also factory shop is here., and Wedgwood Museum which holds the The Wedgwood Collection which is one of the most important industrial collections in the world and a unique record of over 250 years of British ceramic production.
Hear how Joshua Wedgewood revolutionised pottery making with his many innovations until his death in 1795, but the company continud to expand and is now the largest china and earthenware manufacturer in the world.

The Harecastle Tunnel itself is just over 1½ miles long, it runs under Harecastle Hill.
There are actually two tunnels running parallel under Harecastle Hill, the first was built by James Brindley, there were many problems with the construction of the tunnel, it took eleven years in total to build, by which time Brindley had passed away. At the time of its construction the tunnel was twice the length of any other tunnel on the network. The narrow tunnel became a bottleneck for boaters, so some sixty years later Thomas Telford was employed to build a second tunnel and the two tunnels were used until the early 1900's when Brindley's tunnel was abandoned.

Telford's tunnel is still in use to this day, there is a one way system in place, and passage is controlled by tunnel keepers at either end. You can still see the closed entrance to Brindley's tunnel although you can't approach it in a boat. You may well see the Kidsgrove Boggart on your journey through the Harecastle Tunnel, this is rumoured to be the ghost of a young woman who according to legend was decapitated and her body thrown into Gilbert's Hole, a coal landing stage within the tunnel. She is now said to haunt the tunnel appearing as either a headless woman or a white horse. Local miners used to believe that if she was seen it was a warning of a forthcoming disaster in the mines.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 7 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 8.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 41.00 hours

Total Distance : 66.00 miles

Number of Locks : 82

Number of Tunnels : 2

Number of Aqueducts : 0

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Cruising Notes

Day 1

From Anderton marina you head south along the Trent & Mersey canal.

Away on your left you will see Marbury Country park which has woodlands carpeted with bluebells in the springtime, or relax under the shade of the lime avenues. Wander along the mere with splendid views over the water to the church at Great Budworth, or explore the arboretum and community orchard. Children will enjoy the play area, close to the picnic area.

There are attractive short stay moorings here if you have had a long trip and want to moor up somewhere local for the night.

Or head for Marston Bridge 193 which is 45 minutes from Anderton where there is a pub and late opening stores.

Alternatively cruise for a couple of hours to Northwich, the Old Broken Cross Pub is by Bridge 184 canalside and has moorings. There is a chemist, grocer & other shops ½ mile past the pub towards Northwich.

Cruising time to here 1.5 hours

Day 2

As the canal heads towards Middlewich you move out into fine open country on a beautiful stretch of canal, often overhung by trees following the delightful valley of the River Dane.
There are pleasant moorings with picnic tables & BBQ just before Bridge 176. (just over 3 hours to here from Anderton marina)

The canalside area of Middlewich is a haven of peace below the busy streets. The town has been extracting salt since Roman times, and there is an interesting town trail north of Bridge 172. There are various pubs canalside along this stretch.

As you descend into Middlewich there are 3 locks to be negotiated before you reach a canal junction, and Kings Lock just after the junction.

Ignore the Middlewich branch canal to your right, and continue south down the Trent & Mersey Canal past several salt works, which shows this areas industrial heritage. The Rock salt mining that has gone on since Roman times has resulted in severe local subsidence, and the canal has had to be banked up in some stretches, which makes it much deeper than normal. There is a chinese takeaway west of bridge 166.

Occasional locks mark a quiet and unspoilt area, the town of Sandback is away to the left, as the canal reaches the village of Wheelock. This busy little village has a stores and fish & chip shop., and 3 pubs, 2 near bridge 154, and one Canalside- the Cheshire Cheese- with moorings outside.

Sandbach is 1 ½ miles north of Wheelock, and is an old market town that has retained its charm. In its old cobbled market place stand 2 superb Saxon crosses, there are 7 pubs to choose from around here.

After Wheelock the first of 26 locks called Heartbreak Hill will have to be negotiated before you get to Kidsgrove and the junction with the Macclesfield Canal,. First pass the village of Hassall Green, the village has a stores and a canal shop within the canal Centre, which also houses a cafe beside the canal, there is lockside seating.

Moor up here for the night is is 8.5 hours to here.

Day 3

You then negotiate 5 locks and pass the village of Rode Heath to your left, there is a canalside pub here and it has a useful shopping area.
The unusual Thurlwood Steel Lock which was a guillotine lock built to counteract subsidence problems in 1958. It was never popular with boaters who chose to use the conventional lock next to it that wasn't affected by subsidence, as a result the steel lock was dismantled in the 1980's although the remains of it can still be seen to this day.

The Church Lawton Locks ascend from Rode Heath, these locks are perhaps the nicest along Heartbreak Hill, set among woodlands with stunning views towards Mow Cop Castle, particularly lovely on a balmy summer evening.

At Hardings Wood the Macclesfield Canal crosses over the canal by Pool Lock Aqueduct, the short Green Hall Arm takes boaters to a stop lock which is where the Macclesfield officially joins with the T&M. It is advisable to moor overnight here rather than closer to the Harecastle Tunnel in Kidsgrove due to reports of vandalism. Don't let this put you off visiting Kidsgrove though, it offers a good opportunity to pick up supplies, have a drink at a local pub or grab a takeaway.


The Harecastle Tunnel itself is just over 1½ miles long, it runs under Harecastle Hill. There is a friendly tunnel- keeper here and you must not enter the tunnel unless by instruction from him.
There are actually two tunnels running parallel under Harecastle Hill, the first was built by James Brindley, there were many problems with the construction of the tunnel, it took eleven years in total to build, by which time Brindley had passed away. At the time of its construction the tunnel was twice the length of any other tunnel on the network. The narrow tunnel became a bottleneck for boaters, so some sixty years later Thomas Telford was employed to build a second tunnel and the two tunnels were used until the early 1900's when Brindley's tunnel was abandoned.

Telford's tunnel is still in use to this day, there is a one way system in place, and passage is controlled by tunnel keepers at either end. You can still see the closed entrance to Brindley's tunnel although you can't approach it in a boat. You may well see the Kidsgrove Boggart on your journey through the Harecastle Tunnel, this is rumoured to be the ghost of a young woman who according to legend was decapitated and her body thrown into Gilbert's Hole, a coal landing stage within the tunnel. She is now said to haunt the tunnel appearing as either a headless woman or a white horse. Local miners used to believe that if she was seen it was a warning of a forthcoming disaster in the mines. There is, however, no record of any such murder taking place, and it's possible that the story may have been inspired by similar tales from Crick Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal or Rugeley which is also along the T&M.

The Harecastle Tunnel emerges into a long narrow strip of woodland on the outskirts of Tunstall which marks the start of the heavily urbanised area of The Potteries around Stoke on Trent which holds sway over the canal for the next 7 or 8 miles.

You soon pass the Middleport Pottery on your left, with its attractive red brick & slate buildings. There are a few pubs just before at Bridge 126.
Signs of the pottery industry still survive as you pass the heart of Stoke on Trent, which was the centre of the potteries, the 30 foot high brick furnaces still stand, and although they are no longer used, they are being preserved.

At Etruria near the marina there is a useful Toby Inn with its lovely carvery on offer, and within a short walk is a retail shopping park, including Waterworld an indoor tropical aqua park, a cinema, & Ten pin bowling & many high street stores. Also Pizza Hut & other eateries.

It is 7 5 hours to here and a good place to moor for the night

Day 4

Aside from the world famous pottery industry in Stoke and the museums relating to them such as the impressive Wedgewood Museum, Trentham Gardens are worth seeking out on the south side of Stoke. 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.

The junction for the Caldon Canal breaks off to the left in the middle of the city, bearing off to the east towards Leek at the Etruria Junction, site of the Etruria Industrial Museum on the canalside. The Trent and Mersey continues south past Longton to the east and the Stoke City football stadium heading towards Barlaston. Trentham Gardens can be found a short walk to the west from Bridge 106 on the southern fringes of Stoke.
Soon you will pass Wedgwood Visitor Centre on your right just past Trentham Lock 35 .
From Monday to friday you can do a Factory Tour and see craftsmen at work in the heart of the Potteries, utilising unique artisan skills and techniques honed over 250 years at Barlaston, the home of Wedgwood.
The award winning Factory Tour offers an indepth view of all aspects of quality ceramic production including casting, figure making, pattern decorating and hand painting, ornamentation and gilding. See iconic Jasper pieces in production showcasing the pinnacle of ceramic craftsmanship.
The largest Wedgwood retail space in the world, also factory shop is here., and Wedgwood Museum which holds the The Wedgwood Collection which is one of the most important industrial collections in the world and a unique record of over 250 years of British ceramic production.
Hear how Joshua Wedgewood revolutionised pottery making with his many innovations until his death in 1795, but the company continud to expand and is now the largest china and earthenware manufacturer in the world.


You can turn your boat just past Oldroad Bridge 104 it is 3 hours from last nights mooring to here

You can walk the 1/4 mile or so along the tow path into Barlaston as the Plume of Feathers Pub awaits, or cruise back to bridge 106 for a Toby carvery.

Days 5 6 7 8

It is just over 20 hours back to the marina so 3 full days cruising at 6-7 hours per day.




 

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.

Boats

The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
Pacific Wren Canal Boat
Class : Wren
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Reed Bunting Canal Boat
Class : Bunting
(Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

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Great Blue Heron Canal Boat
Class : Heron
(Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

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Glaucous Gull Canal Boat
Class : Gull
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Dusky Thrush Canal Boat
Class : Thrush
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Laughing Gull Canal Boat
Class : Gull
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Bar Tailed Lark Canal Boat
Class : Lark
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Booted Eagle Canal Boat
Class : Eagle
(Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).

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River Warbler Canal Boat
Class : Warbler
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

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Little Owl Canal Boat
Class : Owl
(Sleeps a maximum of 10 People).

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Black Necked Swan Canal Boat
Class : Swan
(Sleeps a maximum of 12 People).

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Lady Blue Sky Canal Boat
Class : CLC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Lady of Trent Canal Boat
Class : CLC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Wallis Ali Baba Canal Boat
Class : CLC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Real Ale Canal Boat
Class : CLC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Mellors Crazy Shake Canal Boat
Class : CLC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Bishtons Cakewalk Canal Boat
Class : CLC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Soo 95 Canal Boat
Class : CLC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Laal Ratty Canal Boat
Class : CLC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Spirit of Debdale Canal Boat
Class : CLC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Savoy Hill V Canal Boat
Class : SavoyV
(Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).

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Meyers Parrot Canal Boat
Class : CBC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Sun Conure Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Mealy Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Yellow Crowned Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Titania 2 Canal Boat
Class : AVE6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Meyers Parrot Canal Boat
Class : CBC4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

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Sun Conure Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Mealy Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Yellow Crowned Amazon Canal Boat
Class : CBC6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Titania 2 Canal Boat
Class : AVE6
(Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

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Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.