A day out in Leek

A little background and history.

Leek is a market town in the county of Staffordshire, England, on the River Churnet. It is situated about 10 miles (16 km) north east of Stoke-on-Trent. It is an ancient borough and was granted its royal charter in 1214.

Leek’s coat of arms is made up of a Saltire Shield. On the top is the Stafford Knot, either side is the Leek “Double Sunset” and below a gold garb. The crest is a mural crown with three Mulberry leaves on a Mount of Heather on top of which a Moorcock is resting his claw on a small-weave Shuttle.

We decided to explore this lovely old market town today. Using geocaching as our tour guide we set out to find a few historical spots in the town. Well we would until we became distracted by tea and cake.

Refuelled exploration of the town can began. We needed to find the memorial, church, market sign and college amongst other locations.

The town is so interesting to walk around. Full of unusual architecture. Even a gold postbox to honour the Olympian, Anna Watkins for her gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for the women’s double Sculls.

The Nicholson War Memorial in Leek, Staffordshire, England is a 1925 war memorial. It was commissioned by local manufacturer Sir Arthur Nicholson and his wife Lady Marianne, née Falkner, in memory of their son Lieutenant Basil Lee Nicholson, who was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium, in 1915, at the age of 24, and in memory of all the other local men who died fighting in World war.

After a good few hours exploring and caching we headed off to Rudyard Lake.

Rudyard Lake is a reservoir in Rudyard, Staffordshire, located north-west of the town of Leek. It was constructed in the late 18th century to feed the Caldon Canal. During the 19th century, it was a popular destination for daytrippers taking advantage of easy access using the newly constructed Staffordshire railway.

Legend has it that the village of Rudyard was named after Ralph Rudyard, a local man reputed to have killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth field, although as the place-name, meaning ‘a yard or enclosure where rue is grown’ in Old English , was first recorded in 1022 and subsequently mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086 it is more likely that Ralph, if he ever existed, was named after the village.

On the miniature railway train.
One happy puppy.

In September 1864 Carlos Trower, an Afro-American tight rope walker who called himself ‘The African Blondin’ was engaged by the North Staffordshire Railway to walk across the lake on a rope suspended some hundred feet above the water. This was the first major event organised by the NSR. Special trains were run from nearby towns and the Potteries with over three thousand spectators attending.

This carving was made to commemorate the tightrope crossing of the lake by Carlos Trower in 1878 and again by Chris Bull in 2016.

After all this exploring it was time to relax with lunch of baps of various fillings and ice cream for desert. Suzy was treated to another swim in the lake before heading off home. It was such a warm evening dinner was also enjoyed outside. Well you have to make the most of the British summer.

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