Thursday, 25 July 2013

Lake Rudyard

We’ve been locking uphill all the way to Leek which obviously means the canal must obtain water from a source near Leek.  The existing end of the canal has a small ditch which is obviously a feeder.  My earlier look at the history of the canal identified James Brindley as having lived for quite a few years in Leek.  Construction of a reservoir on the Staffordshire Moorlands to supply the canal with water was mentioned. 
I’ve been able to trace the route of the feeder from the canal back to Lake Rudyard (red line).  There’s even a footpath beside the feeder.  Wikipedia states the village of Rudyard was named after Ralph Rudyard who reputedly killed Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field.  Lake Rudyard (Rudyard reservoir was constructed by the canal builder John Rennie rather than James Brindley.  There is a second reservoir, Tittesworth Reservoir, in the top right but I can’t find a connection from it to the canal.  Which isn’t all that surprising after reading it was constructed in 1963. 
Rudyard Lake became a popular attraction for visitors, day trippers and courting couples after the railway was constructed. John Lockwood Kipling and Alice MacDonald from Burslem met there and loved the area so much that they named their first son after the lake.  And that’s how Rudyard Kipling acquired his name!
We returned to Hazlehurst Junction and turned onto the Froghall branch.There are two water wheels at Cheddleton which are part of the old Cheddleton Flint Mill.  Flint was extensively quarried and milled along this branch of the Caldon Canal.  The flint was (of course) used in the manufacture of pottery and (naturally) the canal was used to transport the ground flint to Etruria and beyond.
OK… enough of the failed artistic attempt! Smile

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