On the 6th of October 2005, I took a bus trip to Leek. The aim was to walk the length of the valley down to Denstone. Unfortunately, the first practical bus connection didn't reach Leek until 10:50, so there just wasn't time. Nevertheless and despite damp, drizzle and mud, I got to some places I hadn't been to before, took a few reasonable pictures and enjoyed the day out.
Click the images to enlarge.
The journey proper started on the southern edge of Leek, at the current terminus of the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal, where it meets the feeder bringing water from Rudyard Reservoir.
Leek Tunnel has no towing path through it, so towing horses and, nowadays, walkers have to go over the top.
Tunnel Pool is popular with anglers but there was only one today.
Near to their junction at Hazlehurst, the Leek Arm runs alongside the main line of the Caldon Canal and Hazlehurst Locks.
Leaving the Leek Arm, I now headed down the main line towards Froghall.
Hazlehurst Aqueduct, built in 1841, carries the Leek Arm over the main line.
By now, I was hungry and the Hollybush Inn at Denford is right next to the canal. I stopped here for lunch and a pint, which were both very good.
Heading down the valley, alongside the Caldon Canal, was the overgrown railway line from Stoke to Leekbrook.
At this time in 2005, the line was still "mothballed".
Strolling into Cheddleton, I had my first view of the flint mill, before stopping for another good pint in The Boat.
On familiar territory, now, I reached the point where the Caldon Canal and River Churnet merge, at Oakmeadowford Lock.
The two separate again at Consallforge, where the river tumbles over this weir.
Also at Consallforge is The Black Lion, unfortunately shut today.
A little further on is Consall Station on the Churnet Valley Railway.
The distinctive platform and waiting room overhang the narrowed canal, squeezed out of the way by the railway.
Approaching Froghall, I came to the familiar Cherryeye Bridge.
Up close, I noticed, for the first time, planks bolted to the bridge to protect it. Both are notched from rubbing by towing ropes, just like the one attached to Seventy Bridge, on the Uttoxeter Canal, further down the valley.