A FORMER canal route is set to be mile-posted to assist walkers using the route. The current project by the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust (CUCT) is to establish a line of the Uttoxeter Canal and create a walking route aided by the reinstallation of mileposts. The trust has been successful in gaining a number of donations for the project – including £250 from Uttoxeter Town Council.
Opened in 1811, the Uttoxeter Canal ran for 13 miles from a junction with the Caldon Canal at Froghall down to a terminus in Uttoxeter.
However the use of the water-way was short lived and by 1849 it closed, with some line of the canal being reused by the North Staffordshire Railway.
The railway in turn later closed and much of the route reverted to farm land, was developed (JCB Headquarters sits over the line of the canal) or was reinvented as public footpaths.
The demolition of two significant canal buildings in Uttoxeter prompted members of the then Caldon Canal Society (now CUCT) to look seriously at the rest of the Uttoxeter Canal to see what remained and what heritage could be salvaged and indeed if it was feasible to restore and reopen the canal.
With the objectives of: preservation, restoration, and recreation; the trust has carried out a number of projects over the past few years including: the repair and restoration of Bridge 70, and extensive thinning of trees along the section of the canal.
Also, to preserve and identify the line of the canal, a grant was obtained to reinstate six replica mileposts between Froghall and Denstone as the originals had all vanished. The whole project was organised by the volunteers and the reinstatement of the mileposts was completed in June 2016.
Philip Balfour, a member of the trust, further explained: “That reinstatement of mileposts has been so well received that in 2017 the trust decided to reinstate the remaining six mileposts between Denstone and Uttoxeter as close to the line of the old canal as is possible.”
JCB have sponsored the two mileposts that fall on their land at Rocester, and the trust has raised monies from donations by members and from their own funds for the casting and installation of the remaining four.
Further help with the funding has been given by Uttoxeter Town Council, and Amey-Tarmac have agreed to support the trust in the form of installing one of the mileposts in the A50 area where there are currently roadworks.
Philip said: “The casting and painting has been completed and the installation is in its final stages of planning.
“We hope to have all six mileposts installed by the Spring ready for the walking season.”
The locations of the mileposts are: the traffic island in Park Place in the Wharf area of Uttoxeter (close to where the canal terminated), on the Uttoxeter circular walk footpath close to where the canal used to cross the River Tean (new path being formed as a result of the current A50 bridge/access works), in Spath where there is good evidence of the canal and on farmland between Spath and Combridge as close to the line of the canal as possible.
Philip added: “The completion of this work will achieve three things. It will firstly help to raise awareness of our local canal heritage,. Secondly it will help to preserve the line of the old canal and thirdly it will form the basis for “milepost walks” between initially Uttoxeter and Oakamoor and eventually between Uttoxeter and Froghall wharf.”
The Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust always welcomes new members who share their interest and passion for the Caldon/Uttoxeter canals.
For further information and to contact the trust, go online to www.cuct.org.uk
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