Along the Canal……


The Clock Warehouse on the Trent and Mersey Navigation, Shardlow, Derbyshire

We got an early start yesterday…well the sun was shining and only a few clouds  provide a pattern to the blue sky.    The Trent and Mersey Canal was the location for a good walk along the towpath.

Others also opted for an early start.  One narrowboat heading northwards, a group of students canoeing down the canal . Shortly join the River Trent to continue on into Nottingham. Friendly exchanges between between all then off in our separate directions.

The Trent and Mersey Canal was completed in 1777, parliamentary permission being licenced in 1766….  so not long to build the 93 mile long canal.  The object of this major engineering construction was to link the River Trent with the River Mersey.  The industrial heartlands of the Midlands,  past the Breweries of Burton upon Trent, then through the Potteries and onto the ports of Liverpool and of course the industrial north.


Shardlow is about a mile from where the River Trent joins the Canal.  So Shardlow became an important transport and waterways hub at both the start and the completion of a journey as traffic was truly both ways.  Today  many of the old canal side warehouses have been converted into Apartment’s and Homes.  The boatyard basin with boatbuilders still operate and fitout modern narrowboats.  Obviously there has to be the pub or two!  All in all a busy little location and a slice of our industrial heritage.  What has changed is more than a switch to a leisure activity…. a good number of folk have opted to a life on board a narrowboat…  life at a slow pace.

Maybe the name of this boat says it all…


So join me in exploring just a few of the corners along the canal here at Shardlow…


Now that lockdown restrictions have been eased, traffic will start to increase  along the canal again…. bring life back to the Trent and Mersey Navigation.

As for that good weather…well I left it at Shardlow. Today normal service has been resumed. Dull with rain threatening… Still it is nice by the Lake.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

22nd July

(C) David Oakes 2020

8 thoughts on “Along the Canal……

  1. There have been several TV-programs regarding channel-cruising in the UK as well as in France, but – I can’t help wondering if they see anything? After all the banks on both sides seems to be rather high with large old trees blocking most of the view? They all seem to be very happy with what they are doing tough – .?


    1. The canal network from the late 1700’s and earl 1800’s still cover the country and links major cities and town across England. It really was the motorway of the time. As for what you can see, I can assure you that there are plenty of wide open country views. There are also of course places where the canals pass through our industrial heritage, today of course much is made of these locations as Heritage centres, etc. True, as the canals have been there for centuries the trees have grown in places. But, full marks to the engineers. They had to plan a route that could follow a contour line. Where a change in level couldn’t be avoided a system of locks to take you up or down to another level. As the route follows the contour line it often winds round hills and valleys so giving great views. There are tunnels where the only way is through a hill. It is amazing that the 93 miles from The River Trent to the Mersey, through some difficult terrain was built in 10 years. Today we struggle to build a HS2 rail line from London to Birmingham that will not be finished for at least 20 plus years and has been in the planning stage for nearly as long. The railline will safe at best 20 minutes. The Trent Mersey canal saved many days of horse and cart transport. Not sure we have made REAL progress.


    1. It a good way of getting to the Mersey. But what is just as good, should you ever visit Liverpool is that very trip, back and forth on the local ferry….one of the best views of that famous Liverpool skyline. Busy but fun 🙂

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