Guides: Pearson 4, Nicholson 4, Lockmaster 10
A fascinating voyage of discovery and well worth the extra bit of effort!
The journey takes you along the wonderfully rural Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal to Great Haywood Junction where, passing under a distinctive roving bridge, you join the Trent and Mersey Canal heading north towards the Potteries and Peak District. The rolling Staffordshire countryside leads you to Stoke-on-Trent, the Wedgewood Visitors Centre and the impressive 2926-yard long Harecastle Tunnel.
Beyond Harecastle the 13 miles to the salt town of Middlewich sees the canal descend 31 locks to the Cheshire Plains. The short Middlewich arm links the Trent and Mersey Canal to the Shropshire Union Canal again through more glorious countryside.
The scenery on the climb up ‘Heartbreak Hill’ to the summit at Kidsgrove is fantastic. As well as sights of the potteries such as the Bottle Kilns at Etruria, the Wedgwood Pottery Centre at Barlaston is not to be missed. 01782 204218 www.thewedgwoodstory.com
The National Trust’s Shugborough Hall is a short walk from moorings at Great Haywood. 01889 881388www.nationaltrust.org.uk