Caldon Canal Short Break
The Caldon Canal is arguably one of the most scenic and beautiful canals in the UK. Your cruise from Stoke on Trent and out along the Churnett Valley to the scenic market town of Leek makes for a fabulous short break of either three or four nights.
Your canal boat holiday starts from our base in central Stoke-on-Trent, in the heartland of ‘The Potteries’. The journey out of Stoke on Trent is one of the fascinating history as you glide past the bottle kilns, the factories and old pottery warehouses.
The surroundings gradually become more picturesque as you enter the Churnet Valley and soon you are gliding through beautiful woodlands, following the contours of the valley before hitting open countryside and witnessing the can sights and sounds of open farmland complete with grazing cattle and horses.
On arrival at Hazelhurst Junction, which is marked by a simple bridge and signpost, the Caldon Canal splits with the main Froghall line dropping down three locks and the Leek branch crossing over the top.
For this short break, you’ll take the short branch of the Caldon Canal to Leek, which is peaceful stretch of canal that finishes just outside the town of Leek. Again, the route is pretty countryside that is littered with attractive stone cottages that start to reveal that fact that you are approaching the Peak District National Park.
Just before Leek you’ll go through the 120-meter Leek Tunnel and then, a mile or so before Leek you’ll see a winding hole where you’ll turn round to start your journey back to base.
If you want to explore the market town of Leek, then it’s about a twenty-five-minute walk into the centre from the winding hole. This former textile town has plenty to recommend it. Dating back to the 12th century, this town has got itself a reputation as an antiques centre. It also has attracted some famous names including the artist William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement and James Brindley, the 18th century engineer who built most of the canal network.
Head to the stone-cobbled market square and discover a wealth of independent shops, from antiques to cafes, as well as traditional markets selling locally made produce such as condiments and confectionary. Don’t miss the Victorian Butter market renovated Victorian Indoor Market Hall and includes quality butchery, fine fresh fish, farm produce and gifts.
You’ll then return the way you came back to the Stoke on Trent canal boat hire base.