School parties usually take the Leek branch and, if time allows (they have to be back at school in time to be picked up), they may get as far as the Leek Tunnel.
The shortest possible run is to the top of the Hazlehurst Locks and back. This takes two-and-a-half hours.
More usual, for schools, is the trip to the aqueduct above the Hollybush, which takes, with a half-hour break, about 3 hours. Tunnel pool (on the Leek arm just before the tunnel itself) and back can take 5 hours or longer, depending on the break.
Other parties may go towards Consall and Froghall. Our longest run is a return trip to the end of the canal, through the Froghall tunnel. This takes at least 6 hours. A trip to Consall Forge and back takes 4 hours. On both the Froghall and Leek routes there are a number of very attractive mooring points to take a break and stretch your legs.
The Leek trip can include a stop at the Hollybush at Denford. Consall has the Black Lion and Froghall is very handy for Hetty’s Tea Shop and, at a little distance, the Railway Inn.
Our mooring is at the Cheddleton Flint Mill, on the A520 at ST13 7EE
The Caldon Canal
The canal was built in 1776 to carry limestone from Froghall. The Leek Branch was opened in 1801, as a navigable feeder to bring water from Rudyard Lake. The 1811 branch to Uttoxeter closed in 1849 and, in many places, was built over by the railway. With the fall of traffic in the 20th Century the canal fell into ruin. The Caldon Canal Society campaigned, with volunteers, local authorities and British Waterways, to restore the canal. It was reopened in 1974. One lock on the section beyond Froghall towards Uttoxeter has also been restored. For much of the journey to Froghall, through the Churnet Valley, the canal runs close to the heritage Churnet Valley Railway. We often see their trains, especially at weekends. For the length between Oak Meadow Ford Lock and Consall, the canal shares the water course with the River Churnet.