A new canalside cycle route has opened to provide a picturesque, traffic-free route from Stoke-on-Trent to the heart of the Peak District.
Four miles of resurfaced towpath along the Caldon Canal from Stockton Brook to Cheddleton extend the existing towpath which follows the canal from Stoke. Work has been underway over the winter, carried out by Staffordshire County Council at a cost of £4m, and is now finally complete. Funding is coming from a Government scheme to improve cycling in England’s National Parks.
The next section to be tackled will be the Leek branch of the Caldon Canal, to the edge of the market town of Leek. There will also be an on-road section along quiet lanes from Cheddleton, which will connect to the popular off-road Manifold Trail.
Councillor Gill Heath from Staffordshire County Council said:
“This is a hugely exciting project for us and we are very pleased with the progress the teams are making. Each month we see more and more of this wonderful route along the canal improved. Hundreds of people are already using the new path, and I'm sure we'll see even more visitors to the area as the summer approaches. More visitors also means a welcome boost for our tourism businesses which is good for our local economy.”
The Pedal Peak project will see the creation of four new cycleways into the Peak District national park from the surrounding urban areas. Councillor Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, called the canalside route “a fantastic gateway enabling local people to be less car-dependent”.