Stone and The Trent and Mersey Canal
An ancient settlement which is said to have been founded after the martyrdom of the sons of the Saxon King Wulfhere. Stone was the headquarters of the Trent and Mersey Canal Company in 1771. The canal was built largely at the instigation of Josiah Wedgwood who needed an efficient means of transporting materials and finished wares up and down the country. A fascinating glimpse of this industrial past can be seen at the dry-dock and narrowboat maintenance sheds which form the premises of the Canal Cruising Company on the canal wharf. Stone was also an important staging post on the journey from London to Holyhead and many of the local hostelries had stabling for the horses which pulled the coaches on this long and arduous journey. In the Moddershall Valley and Stone itself you can spot the many mills which ground bone and flint for the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent.
Brewing was a major industry in Stone in the 19th and 20th Centuries, up until the late 1960s when both the town's breweries, Joules and Bents, were bought out by a large national concern. The breweries were eventually closed down. Some of the brewery buildings still exist, such as the old bottle store on Newcastle Road (best viewed from the canalside), the brewery entrance (now the entrance to the Co-op and shopping arcade) and Bents old brewery tower on Mount Industrial Estate, where local brewing has started again after a gap of around 40 years.
Today Stone is a thriving market town which plays host to a regular weekly market, a farmers market (first Saturday in the Month) and is also well known for its annual Food and Drink Festival. Stone has also become a town well known for the diversity of its restaurants, watering holes and specialist retailers from high end fashion to traditional sweetshops. The D&G 250 Bus route serves the village to Stone Town.
Downs Banks National Trust Reserve
The Downs Banks was formally owned by the Joules Brewing family of Stone and was used for the growing of hops for the local brewing industry. It was handed to the National Trust in 1950 by the family to be used for public access. There is a beautiful babbling brook and is criss-crossed by many public paths with access to the Millenium Viewpoint, a monument on the highest point of the reserve with far reaching views of the surrounding countryside. There is a small public car park and further country paths can be accessed from here, along with the canal towpath to Stone and Barlaston and beyond. The car park is situated in Washdale Lane between Oulton Heath and Meaford Lock on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
The photgraph shows the memorial to the Joules family's gift of the Downs Banks to the public.
click on image to enlarge
Kibblestone International Scout Camp
Set in around 200 acres in the Moddershall Valley this world reknowned scout camp provides residential accommodation and adventurous activities. www.kibblestone.org
Wedgwood Museum Barlaston
For over 250 years the six towns which make up the city of Stoke on Trent have bee n synonymous with the Pottery industry. Josiah Wedgwood set up his first manufactory in his home town of Burslem and then, as his fame and reputation, grew moved to purpose built premises in Etruria on a site which would be served by the Trent and Mersey Canal. This potbank remained the pricipal works until the 1930s when the factory moved to the leafy environs of the village of Barlaston six mile south of the Potteries. As well as the factory this site houses the world reknowned Wedgwood Visitor Centre where all aspects of the pottery industry can be seen in a working working museum.
Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
Though not a famous pottery manufacturer in its day, the Gladstone Pottery Museum is the last complete example of a Victorian potbank in the country. Here you can discover how bone china was made and visit the bottle kilns to see how ware was stacked to be fired. Other attractions include the Doctors House where you can learn about the horrible diseases that befell workers in the industry, the tile gallery and "Flushed with Pride", an exhibition of the history of the humble (but essential) toilet and its development through the ages.
D&G 250 Bus from the village to Longton
Potteries Musem and Ary Gallery, Hanley, Stoke on Trent
This museum houses the greatest collection of ceramics in the country. Over five thousand pieces are on display with the emphasis on ware related to the immediate area. There is also the famous Keiller Collection of 667 cow cream jugs along with, local archeaology, natural history and art and crafts of regional and national importance.
Shugborough Hall and Gardens
County Town of Stafford
Izaak Walton's Cottage
Shallowford, nr Norton Bridge, Staffs
Izaak Walton is most famous for his work "The Compleat Angler" first published in 1653 and still in print today.
Writer, merchant, angler, and notable Royalist, Walton was born in Stafford in 1593 but moved to London as an apprentice draper. He maintained links with Staffordshire and Derbyshire and purchased a farm in Shallowford which contained this cottage. Walton visited the area to fish and write and the cottage contains exhibits which offer an insight into life in the 17th century and into the history of angling. There is also a shop and tea room and can be hired for small civil ceremonies.The cottage can be found off the B5026 between Stone and Eccleshall.
Trentham Park and Gardens was originally the Staffordshire seat of the Dukes of Sutherland, a statue of whom is visible standing on a column on Tittensor Chase overlooking his ancestral home. In the mid to late twentieth century the park and gardens became a pleasure gardens for the population of the Potteries, a welcome respite from their industrial environment.
In recent years it has been subject to a multi million pound investment. It is now one of the premier attractions in the region, with formal Italianate Gardens, shopping village and hotel, restaurants, miniature railway, boat trips on the formal lake, monkey forest and, most recently, a ferris wheel. Trentham Estate is situated on the A34 one mile north of Tittensor. There are entrances to the estate at both the Strongford and Ash Green roundabouts for cars. First Bus 101 from Stone. www.firstgroup.com
Cannock Chase National Park
Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District