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Peak District Towns and Villages: Leek

Villages around Leek


Cheddleton Flint Mills
Cheddleton Flint Mills
Cheddleton lies 5km south of Leek, where the A520 road crosses the beautiful Churnet valley, which is deep and steep-sided here.

There has been a settlement here since at least Saxon times, since the river was an obvious source of both water and water power. One of the flint mills (which are now a museum) was originally a corn mill and dates from the 14th century.

On the Caldon Canal
On the Caldon Canal
Cheddleton began to expand with the construction of the Caldon Canal, in 1779. This was originally built to bring limestone from the quarry at Cauldon and linked Stoke on Trent (where it joined the Trent and Mersey canal) with Froghall, lower down the Churnet Valley. The canal brought improved communications and hence industry (such as flint-milling) to the area. The construction of the North Staffordshire railway in 1849 brought further industry to the area, which has remained to this day.

The Caldon Canal is now very popular and Cheddleton Station is the main centre for the Churnet Valley Railway, an excellent tourist attraction.

Besides the attractions of the Churnet Valley and Caldon canal, Cheddleton is also very handy for the southern edge of the Peak District National Park, with the Roaches and Staffordshire Moorlands not far away.

Cheddleton Station - Churnet Valley Railway
0 - Cheddleton Station - Churnet Valley Railway
Churnet Valley Railway engine
1 - Churnet Valley Railway engine
Churnet Valley Railway steam engine
2 - Churnet Valley Railway steam engine
Caldon Canal locks at Cheddleton
3 - Caldon Canal locks at Cheddleton
Cheddleton Flint Mill water wheel
4 - Cheddleton Flint Mill water wheel
Cheddleton Flint Mill
5 - Cheddleton Flint Mill


Rudyard Lake is not natural but was constructed in the late 18th century to provide water for the local canal system, especially the Caldon Canal, which links Leek and Stoke-on-Trent. Being high up meant that local groundwater was in minimal supply so the reservoir was built as a water head by damming the River Churnet high up.

Rudyard is a small village which grew up alongside Rudyard Lake, primarily fuelled by the area's popularity with local tourists during the Victorian period and the early 20th century. The tourists came here via the railway, which passed nearby and brought easy communications between here and Stoke and other cities.

There is a large hotel near the foot of the lake and a car park, visitor centre and sailing club.

The parents of the author Rudyard Kipling spent their honeymoon here and named their son after the place.

Rudyard Narrow Gauge Railway Station
0 - Rudyard Narrow Gauge Railway Station
Rudyard Lake
1 - Rudyard Lake

Upper Hulme

Upper Hulme is a tiny hamlet clustered around a now redundant mill on the upper reaches of the River Churnet. The houses are built from the local sandstone, which is a beautiful rose colour, and the road through is the principal access to the fabulous Roaches and Hen Cloud as well as being close to Ramshaw Rocks to the north and Tittesworth Reservoir to the south so is a great place to base yourself for walking in this area. There is a popular pub, The Rock.

Roaches Upper Tier
0 - Roaches Upper Tier
Ramshaw Rocks
1 - Ramshaw Rocks
Hen Cloud
2 - Hen Cloud
Hen Cloud from Blackshaw moor
3 - Hen Cloud from Blackshaw moor
Ramshaw Rocks
4 - Ramshaw Rocks
Ramshaw Rocks
5 - Ramshaw Rocks
Roaches - Rock Cottage
6 - Roaches - Rock Cottage
Roaches - Lower Tier
7 - Roaches - Lower Tier
8 - Roaches
Roaches - Climbing on the Lower Tier
9 - Roaches - Climbing on the Lower Tier
Roaches Upper Tier Climbers
10 - Roaches Upper Tier Climbers
Roaches - climber on The Sloth
11 - Roaches - climber on The Sloth

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