A canal-side cycling route around Staffordshire an off-road adventure
This short two-day Staffordshire cycling route follows the NCN5 through the Potteries into the glorious canal-side countryside.
A short bicycle tour across the county of Staffordshire to the cusp of the Peak District
Starting in the principal town of Stafford I followed the NCN5 (National Cycle Network 5) along a dedicated cycle path that runs behind the town.
Then onto a couple of rural B roads before joining the canal network at Stone. I stopped here for a lunch of bread and hummus and a flask of chai.
The NCN5 is one of the longest dedicated cycle routes in the country and follows the Trent and Mersey canal to the city of Stoke on Trent.
The Potteries by bike – one of my favourite homegrown bike routes
Stoke is the principal town of the Potteries, a collection of five towns that constitute a linear city in the north of the county.
This area is famed for its pottery industry, hence the name, and the bottle kilns used to fire the china were once a common sight across the city.
From here I joined the Cauldon Canal which traverses the countryside towards Shardlow in Derbyshire.
Taking a fork in the towpath I took the seldom travelled Leek branch of the canal into the Ladderedge Country Park before cycling a few miles into town on the main road.
After a short rest stop in Leek where I bumped into my mates’ mum and sister (hey Ange & Shell), I spun up a couple of rolling hills to Tittesworth reservoir.
With an epic view of the Roaches, I took a quick dip in the water, cooked a quick supper of homemade dhal served with leftover bread and hummus.
I read a book (The Log from the Sea of Cortez*) for an hour, then pitched my tent and drifted into a deep, refreshing sleep.
My cycle touring kit list may make useful further reading for those planning a multi-day tour.
The next day I had planned to ride to Glossop and loop around to Uttoxeter for an extended two-day trip.
However, the rain that started in the early hours showed no sign of relenting so I ambled into Leek for a spot of brunch.
I figured to wait for the rain to stop before making a decision on which way to go.
In the end, the rain just got worse. I stocked up on treats from Lawtons Pies (my favourite bakery in Staffordshire) and began the return journey to Stafford.
I followed the same route in reverse: Stoke, Stone, Stafford. All via canals except the final stretch between Stone and Stafford, which is a pleasant B road.
The canal towpath between Leek and Stone is quite rutted in the early section. Be prepared to navigate some challenging sections in muddy conditions.
Have you ridden around Staffordshire? Share your cycling story in the comments below: