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aspect of the valley, ranging from an in-depth account of the Cheadle Coal Field to pub recommendations (which may go out of date) and terrible poetry.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 had to be scaled back, with the hotel being a notable casualty. This didn't appease some of the locals, however, who wanted the whole site to be returned to nature. Nevertheless outline planning permission was granted in 2016.
Hetty's Tea Shop
Hetty's Tea Shop at Froghall Wharf aims to "prepare and cook fresh and, where possible, locally produced foods", which includes breakfasts, light lunches, afternoon teas, a selection of cakes, ice creams, etc. I visited on a busy summer afternoon for tea and a freshly-baked scone, still warm from the oven, with jam and clotted cream. Lovely.
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 Ramblers Retreat is an award-winning tearoom and restaurant housed in an old gatehouse at the bottom of Dimmingsdale. It serves everything from light snacks through to full meals. As well as the tables inside, there are tables in the gardens, where dogs are welcomed with water bowls and free treats. It even sells doggy ice cream.
Ye Olde Rock Inn, Upper Hulme
Ye Olde Rock Inn is perfectly placed for weary walkers after a day on The Roaches, Ramshaw Rocks or Hen Cloud. At the back of the pub, there is a Hikers Bar and a Hikers Snug, both of which are dog-friendly, as well as an outdoor seating area. The beer and the food are both good.
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. 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 in the garden.
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. Food is served in a separate dining area.
The Railway Inn, Froghall
The Railway Inn is a pub, restaurant and hotel next to Kingsley & Froghall Station. As of early 2022, the pub had been sold to new owners and was being refurbished.
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.
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 hosts forums on anything and everything boat-and-canal-related.
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.
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.
National Library of Scotland Maps
The NLS site mixes old maps with satellite and LIDAR imagery, which can displayed side-by-side or overlayed for comparison. The LIDAR is particularly useful for peeking beneath the trees to spot features scarcely visible on the ground.
A Vision Of Britain Through Time
This site contains various types of information. It is especially useful, however, for its early-19th-century Ordnance Survey First Series maps, which pre-date most of the maps available elsewhere.
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.
Some Other Sites
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.
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.