The links and references below all relate to some aspect of the valley, ranging from an in-depth account of the Cheadle Coal Field to pub opening times and terrible poetry. This site contains precious little by way of original research and I think, having spent almost no time pouring over original sources, that it's important to acknowledge the people who have. All the photos on the site are mine but the supporting text includes information gleaned from all over the place.
Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership
Potentially £2,000,000 of Heritage Lottery funding:
Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) is a major project which aims to conserve, enhance and celebrate the special landscape fringing the Peak District in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Churnet Valley, lying to the north east of Stoke-on-Trent, has an interesting mixture of rural landscapes and industrial quarries, limekilns, canals and railways.
The scheme aims to improve land management and encourage better transport links so that visitors without access to cars can fully enjoy the 20,000ha area, which includes Weaver Hills and Ipstones Edge.
Local people will learn new heritage skills such as dry stone walling and hedgelaying with the potential for both paid and voluntary job opportunities.
Back in 2011, Laver Leisure proposed a £50M redevelopment of Moneystone Quarry as Moneystone Park:
A high quality sustainable leisure resort, focussing on
outdoor activities, wildlife, the environment and the quarry's heritage.
The proposed facilities were to include
a cafe, bar, restaurant, visitor centre, indoor activity centre, market square and hotel spa.
Things went rather quiet, after that, and it seems that the original proposals have now been scaled back, with the hotel being a notable casualty. This hasn't appeased some of the locals, however, who want the whole site to be returned to nature.
Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Cafe
The cafe at Denstone Hall is open during the day for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. I visited in January for a much-appreciated late breakfast of Staffordshire oatcakes with cheese and bacon. The coffee was good, too.
The Hollybush Inn, Denford
The Hollybush is one of my favourite lunch stops: good bar food and well-kept real ales. It's next to the canal, exactly ten miles from Etruria junction: the milepost is right outside the front door.
The Boat Inn, Cheddleton
The Boat is another favourite for both food and beer. As the name suggests, it overlooks the canal at Basford Bridge, but it's also handy for the Churnet Valley Railway at Cheddleton Station.
The Black Lion Inn, Consallforge
The Black Lion is the ultimate summer afternoon sit-down or cozy winter refuge for the weary walker. It's in a narrow, isolated part of the valley, overlooking the canal, railway and river. The beer is excellent and, as well as their normal menu, they sometimes have a hog roast going in the garden.
The Railway Inn, Froghall
The Railway reopened in late May 2011, advertising food and B&B accommodation via a new website, which has since disappeared. I visited in July for a couple of well-kept pints of Bombardier. They also had Old Speckled Hen on.
The Fox and Goose, Foxt
Foxt sits high up on the valley side, above Froghall. The pub is small and friendly and the beer garden has fine views across the fields to Ipstones and beyond. There was good pint of Ruddles County to be had, when I visited. Food is served in a separate dining area.
Alton Wire Mill and Dam
Exploring the history, present and possible future of the mill, which has had many uses over the centuries but currently sits boarded-up and semi-derelict, waiting for a new purpose.
The website for
Leek, Staffordshire - Queen of the Moorlands.
Actually, the place is a bit run-down to call itself a "queen" but the Churnet does run around the town from north-east to south. The name is thought to be Old Norse, meaning something like "place by the river", which makes sense.
The Valley in Poetry
The Vales of Wever
A "loco-descriptive" poem written by a guest at Wootton Lodge in the late 18th century. Even by the standards of the time, the language is flowery and was considered "fatiguingly monotonous" by the Edinburgh Review in 1799. It's trite rubbish but good for a laugh, even if you don't stick it all the way through.
The Fairies of Caldon Low
This poem was written in 1847 by Mary Howitt. Sadly, the prehistoric mound of Caldon Low was quarried away in the 19th century; the one shown here is at Swarkestone in Derbyshire. Some of the people who believe in such things think that the fairies may have relocated to Ribden Low, nearby.
The Canal, Froghall
This poem was written by W H Auden while still a youth in 1925 and published in a collection called "Juvenilia: Poems 1922-1928". The collection also contains a poem called "Flowers and Stationmaster", which mentions a station called "Waterhouse" that may have been Waterhouses, near Cauldon.
The Churnet Valley Railway
The Churnet Valley Railway currently runs steam and historic diesel trains between Leek Brook Junction and Froghall.
The line is a remnant of the North Staffordshire Railway, known as "The Knotty", built through the valley in the 1840s.
Moorland & City Railways
Moorland & City Railways was set up to purchase, renovate, and return commercial rail freight to the Stoke-on-Trent to Caldon Low rail route. It's a sister organisation to the C.V.R. and C.V.R. trains were the first users, during the gala reopening of the Leekbrook to Caldon Low section in November 2010.
Camping & Cycle Hire
Farm on the Hill
Manor House Farm is in Prestwood, overlooking the south-eastern end of the valley towards Denstone. As well as camping and cycle hire, there's a tea shop, a mini museum of farm life and a community meadow and woodland.
Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust
The two arms of the Caldon Canal run into the Churnet Valley at Horse Bridge. The Leek Arm runs north to the outskirts of the town. The main line runs south-east to Froghall, where it meets the remains of the Uttoxeter Canal.
Boats and Canals
Boats and Canals is a link site with masses of stuff on it, including links to sister site, boatsandcanals.co.uk, which hosts forums on anything and everything boat-and-canal-related.
A all-rounder featuring
...indoor and garden model railways, railways, canals and waterways, garden ponds and aquariums and there is also a section for youngsters.
Includes features on both the Caldon Canal and the Churnet Valley Railway, amongst many others.
Maps, Images and History
Geograph Britain and Ireland
The Geograph® Britain and Ireland project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland.
The site has a search facility and, naturally, a map-based interface. The Churnet Valley is well represented.
A Vision Of Britain Through Time
This site contains various types of information. It is especially useful, however, for its early-19th-century Ordinance Survey First Series maps, which pre-date the maps available on the Old Maps site.
Bradshaw's 1830 Canal Map on canalmaps.net
This is a map from 1830 including parts of the Caldon, but especially the Uttoxeter Canal, which was mid-way through its short existence at this point. The road network is also interesting, including the likes of the Blythe Marsh to Spend Lane turnpike, parts of which are, now, no more than a footpath.
Books, Booklets and Other Paper-Based Sources
Information points have been erected at sites around the village of Oakamoor, at Froghall Wharf and elsewhere in the valley. These are excellent resources, featuring old photographs of the sites in their industrial heyday with informative supporting text.