Tag Archives: Trent & Mersey Canal

Canal News – Etruria Canals Festival at Trent & Mersey and Caldon Canals

Canal News

Etruria Canals Festival at Trent & Mersey and Caldon Canals

MarinaFestival Park Marina Etruria
Festival Park Marina on the Trent & Mersey canal at Etruria Stoke-on-Trent. The China Garden is a popular Toby Inn with outside seating on the marina’s edge.

Just after the marina the Caldon Canal branches off down the Churnet Valley for Froghall.
© Copyright Dennis Thorley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Trent and Mersey Canals, Etruria

31 May – 01 Jun 2014
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
The countdown is on for the 21st Etruria Canals Festival on Trent and Mersey Canals
This year’s festival will continue the traditions of the annual community event which is one of the largest free events in Stoke-on-Trent, regularly attracting thousands of visitors to the junction of the Trent and Mersey and Caldon canals in the middle of Etruria.
Music and dance will complement colourful historic canal boats moored along the towpaths of Etruria. Lots of activities for children and adults will be on site and a good time is guaranteed for all.
For more information call Andrew Watts on 07886578902 or email event@etruriacanalsfestival.org.uk.


Canal News – Work Party on the Trent & Mersey Canal

Canal News

Work Party on the Trent & Mersey Canal


16 May 2014
9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Join the IWA Lichfield Branch in a work party on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Wolseley Road

Meet at the bottom of the steps by the aqueduct, accessed along the footpath between Albany Drive and the pumping station, off Wolseley Road, Rugeley.
Starting at 9.30am, the work party will continue until approx 3pm but please feel free to come along for just a couple of hours if that’s all the time you have. If turning up just for the afternoon please arrive at about 1 pm and notify the organisers in advance.
refreshments available for all – lunch provided for those staying all day.
Heavy duty footwear, tatty clothing and a smile are all you need to bring!
Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

Canal News – Floating market in Stone, Staffordshire

Canal News

Floating market in Stone, Staffordshire

Floating Market, Birmingham

02 – 05 May 2014
10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Visit the floating market along the Trent & Mersey Canal and enjoy a day out with a difference.


Take a trip to the floating market and enjoy all of the colourful narrowboats selling a range of arts & craft products.

While you’re there you can enjoy a tranquil walk along a very picturesque stretch of canal.

Trading boats

The RCTA is still taking bookings from trading boats. For more information and to book your place at one of these events visit http://www.canaltraders.org.uk/markets.html.

If you’ve got any questions about the upcoming markets please contact michael@canaltraders.org.uk.

Canal News – Free guided walk to Harecastle Tunnel

Canal News

 Walking the towpath

Walking the towpath

Free guided walk to Harecastle Tunnel


Red Bull Wharf,
Congleton Road South,
(opposite the Red Bull pub)

23 Mar 2014
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Join us and explore the Trent & Mersey and Macclesfield canals with Andrew Watts from Etruria Boat Group.

We will walk from Red Bull Wharf along the Trent & Mersey Canal to the entrance of Harecastle Tunnel, and return via the Macclesfield Canal. This is a walk into a past age when the canal was busy with cargo, horses, and boats.

The walk is leisurely and suitable for anyone able to cope with walking the distance of about two miles (3 km). It will last about 90 minutes and finishes with tea and cake at the new Welcome Station at Red Bull Wharf.

Canal News – Lock 74 Middlewich, Trent & Mersey Canal

Canal News

Lock 74 Middlewich, Trent & Mersey Canal


23 Feb 2014   10:00 – 16:00


Brooks Lane Middlewich CW10 9PJ On street parking available next to the lock

 Join us to find out how we’re keeping this lock in good working order.

 4476Lock 74 Middlewich, Trent & Mersey Canal

 4477 Lock 74 no boatLock 74 Middlewich, Trent & Mersey Canal

 4478Lock 74 Middlewich, Trent & Mersey Canal

We’re draining a section of the Trent & Mersey Canal to allow us to refurbish a section of the Lock Flight at Middlewich. While it’s empty we’re giving you a rare chance to walk along the bottom of the canal and find out what it takes to keep everything in working order.

We need to repair a quoin (the slot in the lock chamber wall where the gates fit), which started to fail during the summer months. We’ll also carry out a range of masonry repairs. At the two neighbouring locks we’ll refit a bumper board and carry out the excavation and replacement of a failed culvert (enclosed drain under the canal).

This free event is one of many open days taking place around the country and promises to be a fun and informative day out for the whole family.

Everyone’s welcome and there’s no need to book in advance. Please make sure that you’re wearing suitable footwear for trudging about in the bottom of a lock. Please note last entry is at 3.15pm.

Canal News – Protect yourself and your boat from the floods, and Rugeley Work Party

Canal News

Protect yourself and your boat from the floods

Flooding on the Oxford CanalFlooding on the Oxford Canal

If you’re a boat owner you’ll want to make sure that your boat isn’t damaged, and you stay safe, during the horrendous weather we’re experiencing. To help you, we’ve put together a short guide to help you battle the wet weather.

While many of these points are common sense we think it’s important to share the information as not every boat owner has years of experience under their belt. If you’re a boat owner with an extra tip to share please email us at feedback@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

• Don’t use a centre rope as a main mooring rope. Bow and stern strings should take the strain (ideally set with springs) and use the centre rope as a failsafe emergency rope.

• Check your mooring lines regularly (and don’t use taut lines)

• If you’re not able to check on your boat regularly ask friends in the area to take a look when they can.

• If water levels are forecast to rise and you think you’re going to be stranded for a while then make sure your loo is empty and that you have enough fuel and food

• Use double pins in your upstream mooring point

• Do not travel on red boards (you won’t be insured)

• Insert a vertical (scaffold) pole, forward and aft, between the boat and towpath to stop beaching on towpath when the water recedes if your boat has drifted during flooding.

• Don’t forget to move your car to higher ground if parked close to mooring

• Don’t forget to top up on fuel for your tender outboard motor – please store all petrol safely and not inside your boat!

• Keep checking the Environment Agency river levels and flood warnings website and be prepared to take action, quickly, if required

• Check on vulnerable neighbours

• Don’t forget to stock up on essential medication if required

• Put dogs in kennels, if required, as walkies maybe become impossible!

Although you might float in a boat and think that there’s not much to worry about, follow the link below and read just how bad it can get. With more rain forecast for the coming days, please take heed of the advice on this page!

• Evesham in Flood

Work Party at Leathermill Lane, Rugeley


Leathermill Lane
WS15 2HN

 22 Feb 2014  9:30 am – 1:00 pm

Come and join the IWA Lichfield Branch for a work party at Rugeley.

Bridge 66, Trent & Mersey CanalBridge 66, Trent & Mersey Canal

Bridge 66 carries Leathermill Lane over the canal.  © Copyright Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Come along and help with painting and re-badging the Canal & River Trust signs along the towpath plus general clearance, maintenance and litter picking.  Meet at Leathermill Lane, Rugeley, Staffs. WS15 2HN by the canal noticeboards on the towpath.

Come along and make new friends.

Hot drinks, cake and all equipment provided, no experience needed, but wear stout boots and old clothes.

Weather permitting!

Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

Canal News – Dive team set for reservoir repairs at 200 year-old Rudyard Lake

Canal News

Dive team set for reservoir repairs at 200 year-old Rudyard Lake

A team of divers and engineers have begun a £600,000 repair scheme on a Staffordshire beauty spot that lent its name to one of the nation’s best loved authors, Rudyard Kipling.Rudyard Lake DrainedRudyard Lake (the water has been drained in preparation for the work)

We’re carrying out important work at the 200 year-old Rudyard Lake near Leek, which supplies water to the region’s canal network.

The project will mainly involve replacing valves at the reservoir which control the rate that water is released into the canal network. The lake has two sets of valves but, over time, one has become very difficult to operate meaning that the water is being held back by just one set.


Divers will get into the water to replace the faulty upstream valve with a modern hydraulically operated system as well as replacing the two leaking downstream valves. The upgrades will improve water retention in the lake while also giving us greater control of the water released into the region’s network of canals.

The lake was built in 1797 by John Rennie to supply the Caldon Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal and fuel the industrial growth of the Midlands.  It would ensure a continual flow of water into the canal which helped to support the heavy industries in The Potteries and West Midlands.

The 2.5 mile long lake has also been a popular visitor attraction over the years and in Victorian times thousands arrived by railway to escape the smoky atmosphere of the Potteries and Manchester.

The parents of Rudyard Kipling were so taken with the lake that it’s said they used it as inspiration for the name of their first born son. Today Rudyard Lake is still enjoyed by families for walking, cycling, fishing and taking boat trips.

Coffin weir

While on-site engineers will also be repairing the ‘coffin weir’, an ingenious 200 year old design feature intended to control the rate that water flows down the canal. It works like a giant bath tub, holding back the water discharged out of the reservoir, releasing it slowly into the canal as it overflows. Recent tests have shown the weir to be leaking so engineers have drained it, scooped out years of sediment build-up and are now repointing the historic brickwork to minimise leakage and improve water control.

Richard Spencer, senior project manager for the Canal & River Trust said; “Rudyard Lake has a rich history and is a stunning place to visit but it also has a vital role to play in supplying the region’s canal network and that’s why these works are so important.

“Water from the reservoir brings life to the area – without a reliable source of water narrowboats wouldn’t be able to explore the canal and wildlife such as water voles and kingfishers wouldn’t be able to use it as a source of food and shelter.

“By carrying out these works we’ll be protecting that water flow and restoring an important part of Staffordshire’s industrial heritage.”2011_06290011

Canal News – IWA Lichfield Branch & HS2 High Speed Rail

Canal News

IWA Lichfield Branch – Decking Preparation and Strimmer Training

A very brave eight volunteers from IWA Lichfield Branch arrived at St Augustine’s Firld on the Trent & Mersey Canalon Sunday 27th October, which had the worst weather forecast seen for a long time. As it happened, the only rain the group faced was during the break for tea and cake, so the volunteers managed to complete most of what was set out to do.

The main job of the work party was to clear the decking area again, which had become badly overgrown during the summer, and to start clearing the canal bank.

IWA Lichfield Branch is only at the beginning of what is quite a complicated project. The next stage will be to replace part of the decking, which is rotten, and begin to sandbag the canal bank.

IWA Lichfield Branch Work Party – Friday 8th November

The branch’s Friday work party saw a lucky thirteen volunteers working in the Brindley Bank area by the aqueduct on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Rugeley.

The footpath from the bottom of the ‘Bloody Steps’ to the aqueduct was finished in quick time, so the team started to fill in behind the piling at the far end of the moorings.

The grass had the last cut of the year, with the footpath from Wolseley Road having the side vegetation strimmed. The steps were cleared of leaves and accumulated moss to make them safer during the winter months.

Meanwhile, work to rebuild the wharf wall continued, although hampered by the persistent rain. The team was joined by a Police Community Support Officer, who advised that reported incidents of anti-social behaviour are well down since IWA started the renovation work, and that some offenders had been caught. Anyone observing anything untoward on the waterways should call the ‘101’ telephone number to report any incidents.

The branch’s volunteers are of all ages, and many wear different ‘volunteering hats’. On this occasion the branch members included volunteers and visitors from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, Stafford Riverway Link, Rugeley Lions, CRT, the Police, and local residents.

 volunteersbrindleybank_8thnov_mbeardsmorePhoto courtesy of Margaret Beardsmore.

HS2 High Speed Rail, Phase 2 route affects several canals – January 2013

The Government announced its preferred routes for Phase 2 of the High Speed Rail (HS2) network on 28th January. Phase 1 was from London to Birmingham and onto Lichfield (see January 2012 report below) and Phase 2 extends the line to Manchester and to Leeds. The plans show several canal crossings in IWA’s Lichfield Branch area, including the Trent & Mersey Canal at Fradley and Great Haywood, the Coventry Canal at Polesworth, and the planned restoration route of the Ashby Canal at Measham.

The Lichfield to Manchester section starts from the Phase 1 link to the West Coast Main Line (WCML) near Streethay. This link already crosses the Trent & Mersey Canal twice, at and near Woodend Lock. The new line adds a further bridge over the canal between Woodend and Shade House locks, creating three canal crossings in close proximity above Fradley Junction. Further north it crosses the T&M again right alongside the marina at Great Haywood, on a viaduct about 10 metres high, although the plans don’t even show the marina.

 LockShade House Lock, Trent & Mersey Canal. HS2 will cross through the woods in the middle distance. Pooley Hall Colliery Basin moorings, Coventry Canal.

Untitled-2The HS2 bridge will cross right over this point.

( Photos by Phil Sharpe)

The Water Orton to Leeds section crosses the Coventry Canal at Polesworth, by a bridge about 10 metres high, after cutting through the canalside Pooley Fields Heritage Centre. At Measham where it runs close to the A42 it crosses Burton Road, but with no bridge shown over the adjacent Ashby Canal line where proposed for restoration.

Numerous alternative alignments were considered at the planning stage and are detailed in the documents now released. A public consultation on the preferred options is promised during 2013. IWA will seek to minimise the visual and noise impact of the three new canal crossings and to ensure proper provision for the Ashby Canal restoration. We also continue to challenge the alignment of the Phase 1 WCML link with its 2 avoidable crossings of the canal, which threaten destruction of the lock cottage at Wood End Lock and would seriously damage the historic canal environment. With construction of Phase 2 expected to closely follow on from Phase 1, the need for this temporary link to be built at all is now very questionable.

North of the Lichfield Branch area, the Manchester route of HS2 and its link to the WCML near Wigan also crosses the Middlewich Branch and the Trent & Mersey again near Bostock Hall, the Bridgewater Canal at Agden Bridge and the Manchester Ship Canal. The Leeds route crosses the River Soar at Redhill, the River Trent’s Cranfleet Cut, the Erewash Canal (twice), the Sheffield Canal and the Aire & Calder Navigation three times between Wakefield and Leeds. All these crossings have adequate headroom, but there is no indication of any bridges to allow for the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal between Staveley, Renishaw and Killamarsh where the main route and a branch to a proposed Maintenance Depot cross the original canal line in several places.

All the plans and supporting documents can all be seen at:



Canal News – Canal volunteers unearth historic tramway

Canal News

Canal volunteers unearth historic tramway

Volunteers working alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal at Rugeley have unearthed a historic tram route which would have played an important part in the development of the town over a hundred years ago.

Volunteers in Rugeley
Volunteers in Rugeley

Volunteers from the Lichfield branch of the Inland Waterways Association and the local community have been working with us over the past year to improve the area around the ‘Bloody Steps’ in the town.

While clearing overgrown shrubs and greenery from the area the volunteers uncovered the remains of a tramway that linked the canal with the nearby water works. In the early 20th Century there was a canal wharf at the Bloody Steps and it is thought that the tramway would have been built to supply coal arriving by canal to the steam engine at the water works.

The volunteers have been keeping the area clear while a full heritage assessment of the site takes place. It’s hoped that over time the line of the tramway can be marked so that people can see how the area might have looked and understand the role the canal played in daily life. As part of their assessment the volunteers have also recorded an interview with a local couple who remember the tramway and who remain active participants in the campaign to preserve the water works.

The Bloody Steps have a grisly history and got their name from the gruesome murder of Christina Collins in 1839. Christina was paying to travel on one of Pickfords boats to join her husband in London but was brutally murdered by the boat crew who had been drinking heavily. When Christina’s body was discovered in the canal, it was carried up the sandstone steps and her blood is said to have stained the stone giving them their macabre name – which persists despite the steps’ replacement in the mid-20th century

Colourful history

Tom Woodcock, heritage advisor for the Trust, said: “The tramway is a very useful find as it adds to the picture of life in Rugeley over a hundred years ago. We already know the very colourful history of the canal but this discovery tells us a little more about how the canal contributed to day-to-day life in the town.

“The volunteers have been doing a brilliant job to look after the canal and this discovery is a great reward for their hard work. It gives them a terrific opportunity to help preserve this interesting feature but, perhaps more importantly, enables them to record for the very first time the important role the canal played in supplying clean water to the people of Rugeley.”

Margaret Beardsmore, Work Party Coordinator for the Inland Waterways Association said: “Our volunteers are really enjoying their work as a local ‘Time Team’ and uncovering a previously unknown heritage gem.”

Canal News – Canalside work party is required.

Canal News

 Canalside work party is required.

AqueductAqueduct at Brindley Bank, Rugeley, Staffordshire

Here the Trent and Mersey Canal crosses the River Trent. The new bridge carrying the A51 Rugeley Bypass (opened 22nd September 2007) can be seen about 300 metres ahead of the camera.  © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

  Volunteers are needed to carry out improvements at Brindley Bank area in Rugeley by the Trent and Mersey Canal.

The work, on Friday, November 8th, will include mowing and strimming, rebuilding a wall at the far end of the aqueduct and relaying of the footpath at the bottom of the steps. 

Equipment will be provided, as will tea, coffee and biscuits.  Heavy duty boots will be required.

Meet at 10.00am at the bottom of the steps by the aqueduct.

Call 07581 794111, or email: