Plenty to see & visit along the way

Cruise south down to the historic Trent and Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction, where the canal meets with the Coventry Canal. Start by cruising down the lovely Macclesfield Canal to Kidsgrove, here you will find the rather interesting Poole Aqueduct, followed by the Red Bull Aqueduct, both of which carry the Macclesfield canal over the Trent & Mersey to their junction.

Just south of here is the extraordinary Harecastle Tunnel (1.6625 miles in length) which is ventilated by a giant fan. After tackling the tunnel you will pass through the famous ‘Potteries’ area ­ so­called due to it’s fame for pottery manufacture ever since the industrial revolution.

  • 85 miles long

  • 24 locks each way
  • Approximately 40 hours return

Further south you will find the market town of Stone (market every Saturday morning) and a flight of 9 locks. From here the cruise is leisurely, with just 7 more locks, nicely spread out along the route past Great Haywood Junction (junction with the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal) the site of Essex Bridge, one of the largest surviving packhorse bridges in the country which stands over the River Trent near the National Trust estate of Shugborough Hall, home to the Staffordshire County Museum.

Carry on from here to Fradley Junction (and the close by nature reserve) surrounded by listed buildings, including cottages, a small warehouse and The Swan Inn Public House. Even the cross over bridge and locks are listed. The original wharf, including the once redundant stables, carpenters’ and blacksmith shop have been converted into a café, gift shop and information centre. Turn here and return.

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