A trip down memory lane

Published: 04:26PM Jan 26th, 2012
By:

Harry Arnold takes to the towpath for a New Year expedition

A trip down memory lane

Boxing Day walkers on the towpath of the Leek Arm above watch Jo, Nigel and Alfred Taylor pass through Hazelhurst Aqueduct board their traditional ex. Grand Union narrowboat which is in the process of being restored as Willow Wren”s Widgeon. PHOTOS: WATERWAY IMAGES

UNSEASONALLY fine weather, combined with virtually a week’s holiday for some, brought out many more towpath walkers and quite a number of boaters over this Christmas and New Year holiday.
 
The Trent & Mersey through our village of Alrewas often had almost a continuous queue of towpath trampers, so the Arnold family, including dog, decamped to our daughter’s home waterway – the Caldon Canal – this New Year.

One of the most attractive canal walks close to her house is a figure-of-eight route around Denford, with the historic ‘waterway fly-over’ of Hazelhurst Aqueduct at the centre of it and the adjacent Holly Bush Inn conveniently placed to provide welcome sustenance, including real ales and food, for the possibly weary walker and passing boater.

We chose to climb the steps up on to the aqueduct and first head along the Leek Branch in the Hazelhurst Junction and Stoke-on-Trent direction which gives a tremendous view of the three-lock flight down below you and on across the valley.

Nostalgic for me, as this was one of my first views of this canal on May 19, 1963 while engaged in the photographic part of an engineering survey for the original Caldon Canal Committee, which fortunately made some small contribution to the eventual restoration and reopening. The locks below were dry and disused then of course.

Railway

At Hazelhurst Junction, with its elegant cast iron bridge, we turned and strolled back down the lock flight – meeting a number of other families and their dogs – to climb back up on to the aqueduct again and head for Bridge 4 on the Leek Branch which takes the lane downhill and back to the pub.  On the way, another small aqueduct crosses what has been for years a closed railway line.

As we are all railway enthusiasts as well, it was great to see this section of track already cleared as part of the Moorland & City Railway project. The scheme has already reopened the section from the junction with the popular Churnet Valley Steam Railway at Leekbrook to the quarries at Cauldon Lowe and is now progressing along the length into Stoke-on-Trent and a link with the West Coast main line. The aim is to run both freight from the quarries and passenger commuter trains and we are all looking forward to the test runs; hopefully later this year.

Back at The Holly Bush, we just got the drinks in before the place started to heave.  If you do this walk, be warned, it is a very popular pub.  You may wonder what the range of massive silver cups are for (a bit more elaborate than the usually darts competition trophies) this country pub is internationally famous for its Tug-of-War team.  Waterway enthusiasts might also spot the secretary of the Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club and her family in there too, as it is her local.

Responses to “A trip down memory lane”

Current Issue: July 2015

Issue July 2015

The Towpath Volunteer of the Year Award
Gridlock on the BCN
Boats and so much more at the Ricky Festival
Focus on Freight
In search of Nessie
374 boats for sale
New catch design could make locks safer for boaters
Stand for CRT's ruling council
Major milestone for Kelpies
Tripadvisor award for Caen Hill

PLUS:

Buy this issue now

• Next issue on sale: July 23, 2015

Issue 117

Issue 117
July 2015

The UK's Number One read for all waterways users

Subscribe and get this issue

Buy it now facebook Read on-line

Have you experienced any problems using a windlass at a lock?

Yes
No
I have seen it happen to someone else

View results without voting

Other Feature Articles

Boat Safety Developments Over Time

By navigating through various sections of the boat, you are given access to a timeline summary explaining how boating technology ...

Read More »

Beyond the Tees Barrage

Beyond the Tees Barrage

Janet Richardson visits the Canal & River Trust’s most northerly outpost

BELIEVED to be the only Canal & River Trust navigation ...

Read More »

View all...

Advertisements

Related magazines:

Heritage Commercials magazine The Railway magazine Aviation Classics

Follow towpathtalk on Twitter

Advertising Deadline:

August 2015 - July 8, 2015
September 2015 - August 12, 2015

Book advertising here

Next Issue Out:

July 23, 2015

Advertisements

Advertisements

Advertisements