From Denford you can choose one or more of the following routes
Cheddleton – return trip 2 hours
4 miles, lock and lift-bridge free. Ideal if you want a leisurely cruise along the canal and plenty of time to stop off to visit Deep Hayes Country Park, Cheddleton Flint Mill with its two water wheels and the historic village of Cheddleton.
Leek – return trip 4 hours
Route summary: 6 miles, 6 locks, 1 aqueduct, 1 tunnel
This is probably the prettiest route, and mustn’t be missed in May when the bluebells are out. It is possible to walk into Leek (approx 1 mile) from the end of the canal. You can take Joshua to the very end of the canal by continuing beyond the “all boats over 45 ft turn here” sign and turning where the feeder comes in from Rudyard, by the aqueduct over the River Churnet.
Endon – return trip 3½ hours
Route summary: 4½ miles, 6 locks
Up the 3 locks at Hazelhurst and along the Caldon Canal summit level as far as Endon, where you can moor up at a newly created picnic site on an industrial archaeological site before turning for your return journey.
Consall Forge – return trip 6 hours
Route summary: 9 miles, 8 locks
Your route will take you down the valley beyond Cheddleton and beside the Churnet Valley Railway to the hamlet of Consall Forge. If the railway is operating you will see plenty of steam trains as the railway follows the canal and crosses it right by the Black Lion pub. (See Navigational Note in “About the Canal” section below).
Norton Green – return trip 7½ hours
Route summary: 8½ miles, 16 locks, 2 lift bridges
If locks are your thing this is the route for you, crossing the watershed from the Churnet Valley into the Trent Valley. Up the 3 locks at Hazelhurst and along the summit level, then down the 5 locks at Stockton Brook, through a lift bridge before turning at Norton Green close to where the River Trent (only a tiny stream) flows under the canal.
Leek and Cheddleton 3 way trip – 6 hours
Route summary: 10 miles, 6 locks, 1 aqueduct, 1 tunnel
This route, combining the first two routes above, enables the Holly Bush pub to be a lunchtime venue. The route to Leek has the added feature of boating over a bit of canal you boated along about an hour earlier as you pass over Hazelhurst Aqueduct.
Not sure which one to chose? Hire the boat for subsequent days so you can explore the whole canal and get a discount!
One way trips can be organised by prior arrangement.