Fradley Junction and return canal boat holiday
Cruise to the beautifully tranquil Fradley Junction Nature Reserve on this 7-night canal boat holiday along the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Fradley Junction is a small but bustling waterways hub where the Trent and Mersey meets the Coventry Canal, which dates back to 1790. The highlight here, other than being a popular place for ‘gongoozlers’ (people who enjoy watching boats on the canals!) is the former reservoir that is now a beautifully tranquil nature reserve. The reserve has bird hive for a spot of twitching, there are activities such as pond dipping and you can explore the carvings and sculptures that are dotted around the reserve. A stunning destination that will appeal to all ages.
You’ll start your weeklong canal boat holiday from the centre of ‘The Potteries’ at our base at the Festival Park Marina in Stoke on Trent, and head south on the Trent and Mersey Canal. It’s an interesting urban environment, as you meander your way through the historic culture of the canals, seeing the remnants of the pottery history in the canal-side factories and chimneys.
Just past the World of Wedgwood, a famous pottery factory dating back to 1759, the urban environment gradually changes to parks and countryside as you head south to Stone.
The Aston Marina at Stone is a nice place to stop for a spot of lunch or dinner, otherwise you can cruise on to Great Haywood village, which is a meeting point for the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. From Stone you’ll be cruising alongside the River Trent.
There is a mooring point at Great Haywood where you can stop and enjoy a visit to Shugborough Hall, a National Trust estate. Set in 900 acres of stunning parkland and riverside gardens, this elegant mansion house has a working Victorian servants’ quarters, Georgian farm, dairy and mill and restored walled garden – you’ll experience the full ‘Upstairs / Downstairs’ history here!
Beyond the Great Haywood Junction, the Trent Valley becomes broader and more open and the canal meanders next to Cannock Chase, a designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Moor up at Rugeley and it’s a two kilometre walk or short taxi ride to the Chase if you fancy a countryside walk or want to entertain the kids at Go Ape, the tree climbing experience.
After Rugely the canal enters quiet countryside again, heading east, through the village of Armitage until you reach the five lock flight which takes you to Fradley Junction.
Take some time to enjoy Fradley Junction. There is a boatyard here, a British Waterways information centre and cafe, and a very popular pub, The Swan, that is situated on the canal side. Enjoy the bustle of this little waterways hub and visit the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve where there are plenty of activities including feeding the waterfowl and pond dipping.
You will then return the way you came back to Festival Marina and the Black Prince base.