Canoe Days Out

Staffordshire - River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal - Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route)

This page was submitted by Peter Robinson
How to get there - Go to Great Haywood off the A51, and turn right into Mill Lane. Immediately before the bridge over the Trent and Mersey Canal, turn right into a car park, where there is a farm shop. The Post Code for the Sat. Nav. is ST18 0RQ. Parking is currently £1 for the day, paid at the excellent farm shop, where you can buy drinks and provisions for your trip. There are also toilets.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - There is space to launch onto the canal immediately adjacent to the bridge, just a few feet from the parking spaces.

General Description - Start by travelling south, under the bridge, past Haywood canal junction, and down to a lock at Trent Lane. Portage the lock but below it turn right through the trees to reach the River Trent. You can launch just below the beautiful 16th Century Essex Bridge, which is worth a photo. The Trent has been joined by the River Sow, just above the bridge.

Travel down the Trent, enjoying the gentle flow and being careful to avoid the occasional shallows in low water. Three Kingfishers seen on my last trip. After nearly 5 miles, and shortly after passing under the A51 for the second time, you will reach an aqueduct, where the Trent and Mersey canal passes over the river. About 25yds above the aqueduct there is a shallow area on the left bank where you can get out, walk a short distance along the edge of the field, and pop over a fence onto the canal towpath (this may be easier with two people to pass canoes over, but can be done on your own).

Paddle left up the canal; it is a beautiful section, in some ways more attractive than the river, with pretty bridges and a very attractive lock in Little Haywood. Arrival at the second lock indicates that you have almost reached home, as this was the point of transfer over to the river on the downward leg. This time stay on the canal to head back to the start. Just above the lock on the right side is a tea shop where you can land your canoe and take rest and refreshments.

In total, a very enjoyable trip of about 9 miles.

Comments on this trip

Ian Snead
08 May 2022
We'd read this website and decided to give this loop a go.We'd done Wolseley Bridge to Essex Bridge and back again a few times, but when we read that you can go down to the aqueduct outside Rugeley we thought that it was perfect. It needs to be said that there is a new owner of the farm land and he doesn't take kindly to "trespassers'We pulled up at the perfect beach and saw immediately a sign saying Private Property. We got out to work out what to do when the land owner started to come over and he was obviously not very happy. Aggressive is the word I would choose. After a slightly heated discussion he stated he'd had enough of people on his land, .... although he was planning a kayaking centre in coming years... but would not let us carry our canoe over the new 6 foot fence.I had noticed a steep... no ...VERY steep path from the river on the opposite bank. We knew we had little other options so gave it a go. We were fortunate. Managed to get up and then drag our 2 man up the steep path. I believe that there is another getting out point the other side of Rugeley to get back on the canal. I suggest you consider this. It needs to be said that we bumped into locals after our climb up the bank. It was suggested that the people we encountered were not the land owners but travellers who are staking a claim. Please beware. My son in law and I both felt he might attack us. But fundamentally it needs to be said, you can't get out on the left bank anymore

16 Aug 2018
So I did this trip today. I exited the river trent into the field...there are horses there and they went into a panic as someone was feeding them and she started shouting, so the horses came after me running. So take care. I got back in the river and carried on for some miles until I got to a footbridge over the river, near Armitage, I then got out walked over the footbridge and back onto the Trent and Mersey Canal not too far from the Plum Pudding.

Jon the Pole
25 May 2018
Did this trip last week in glorious weather, would recommend to anyone. We took a diversion up then down stream just above the ancient monument bridge makes a nice little extra that can extend the paddle into a full day. Also the black pudding scotch eggs in the farm shop at the car park are obligatory.

Keith Day
05 May 2015
There is a blogg of this trip on Song of the paddle here.


Canalside Farm Shop at Launch
Lock House tea rooms

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson