A Heritage Canoe Trail, offering a route through Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries to Froghall Wharf on the edge of the Peak District, is now available for paddlers of all ages and abilities.
Launched in September 2016, it has been created as part of Stoke-on-Trent being named the UK European City of Sport 2016, and features special markers to guide canoeists along the 20-mile canal-based route. The trail also follows hot-on-the-heels of Stoke-on-Trent born canoe slalom athlete Joe Clarke winning Olympic gold at Rio 2016.
Broken down into five short routes along the Trent and Mersey and Caldon canals, it starts from Westport Lake in Burslem, the so-called Mother Town of The Potteries. The first 2.5-mile section includes Middleport Pottery, “home” of Burleigh ware and the BBC TV Great Pottery Throw Down, and continues to the city centre of Hanley.
Fittingly enough, Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries is the place where the canal’s most enthusiastic promoter, Josiah Wedgwood, and his fellow manufacturers and businessmen planned a canal well beyond the scale of anything that had ever been seen before. Less than a mile from Westport is the site where Wedgwood himself broke the soil to start the canal’s construction, 250 years ago.
Integral to the success of the Trent and Mersey Canal was the Caldon Canal, which is now also a part of the Heritage Canoe Trail.
The trail along the two canals can be enjoyed in several ways: short trips lasting around one to two hours; longer trips that take most of the day; or, for the very fit, longer trips that can be completed in one go, or over multi-day sessions.
The trail also shows places to visit along the way, including Middleport Pottery and Café, Emma Bridgewater Factory and Café, Churnet Valley Steam Railway, and numerous historic canal-side pubs.
The route map, available for sale at £3.75, or as a PDF online, features a complete breakdown of the trail – highlighting historic and interesting locations, mileposts, locks, bridges and refreshment venues. The trail as a whole is also well-signposted by new orange and white route plaques.
The online link to the trail can be found at http://www.visitstoke.co.uk/see-do/canals.aspx.
For all tourist information about Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries, visit http://www.visitstoke.co.uk
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