GUIDE TO THE RIVER CHURNET
(Cheddleton to Dimmings Dale)
NAME OF RIVER: Churnet.
WHERE IS IT?: Between Leek and Alton Towers. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Numerous put-ins/take-outs. We put in near to The Boat (a Pub!) at Cheddleton (Map ref. SJ983521) and came off at the Forestry Commission car park/ Nice Cafe at Dimmings Dale (Map Ref. SK063433). Some people put-in at The Boat pub and paddle down to Froghall and then make the return trip using the canal (yawn).
Paul Smith (March 2004)...'If getting on at Consall, it is possible to park in the pub car park, but remember to go for a drink afterwards. Spoke to the landlord and he is a paddler (mainly placid water touring) and seems help to allow parking in exchange for custom.'
Added By Richard Witheridge: When the water is fairly high, get on, on the main road through Cheddleton from Leek the A520, as there is a useful carpark, and this extra section has one extra 1-2 rapid on it.
APPROX LENGTH: 12 miles 'ish.
TIME NEEDED: 4.5 hours including "That was good... lets do that again!" time.
ACCESS HASSLES: Seemed to be OK, we didn't have any problems.
Added by Richard Witheridge: It's best to get out at Froghall, or Oakamoor, as afterwards the river gets really shallow, and there have been a few access incidents recently.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: None aware of but needs rain as it was a bit of a scrape in places...
Added by Richard Witheridge: If you get in at the Boat pub, take the time to walk 500 yards downstream, as there is a small water height maintaining weir, and if that is mostly covered then the rest of the trip will not be too shallow. If it is totally covered, then the river is at a nice level.
GRADING: Mostly grade 1 with one grade 3 waterfall.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees and more trees. The river was completely blocked not far from our get out at Dimmings Dale. Also there is a steel beam across river to limbo under not far from the get-in. Apart from that, there are quite a few low bridges that might be a big hazard when in spate, there is the odd weir, a fun canal overflow drop at Consal and the grade 3 waterfall about half way down, which isn't difficult, but rocky.
Paul Smith (March 2004)...'Paddled section of the Churnet, that included the grade 3 rocky fall, at the bottom of the fall on river left...the bank (which is made of metal and concrete) has a very dangerous undercut, that is at least a metre deep.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Its a dirty ditch, but not a bad paddle in some good country side. The waterfall was a big surprise. Judging by the debris left in the trees, this river can get quite high, so you need to be especially careful as there are a lot of low bridges...
OTHER NOTES: For the canal over flow at Consal follow the canal along the side of the railway, it gets quite narrow, and the overflow is not long after an overhanging rail shed on the river/ canal/ ditch right.