Three Rivers and a Cut – a Staffordshire walk

Stafford’s river is the Sow. It flows from the north west of the County through Eccleshall and into Doxey Marshes. Then it heads through the town centre and east. Between Tixall Road and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal it joins another river, the Penk, which rises to the south.

Two Waters Way

A few years back Government and the local authority built a walkway across these meadows. It’s a beautiful walk through river meadows full of horses and sheep. Just before Baswich Lane the rivers meet beneath the walkway. A swan was nesting and fish could be seen in the sandy basin.

The Sow heading east out of Stafford
The Penk heading east to join the Sow
The rivers meet

Perhaps this point was sacred to the ancients. Certainly both were important rivers to the Celts and Saxons. Stafford was derived from ford by a staith, or landing place. The Penk gave its name to the town of Penkridge and a Mercian tribe the Pencersaete.

From the south
The walk leading to Tixall Road

After following the walkway we crossed onto the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal and headed towards Shugborough and Cannock Chase.

Footbridge at the Saltings

It’s possible to loop back for a shorter walk through Baswich, cutting through sandy, gorsey banks and rabbit scrapes high above the canal, rivers and trains hurtling to and from Euston on the west coast mainline. Or you can stay on the towpath getting off at Milford Common for a pint at the Barley Mow or a cheeseburger at the Wimpy (Stafford still has one and it’s popular). And head back along the canal or bridleway. Or stay on until Essex Bridge (written about elsewhere on this blog) and paddle where Sow (and Penk) join that great river, the Trent.

Trent to the right, and Sow, join
Essex Bridge

10 thoughts on “Three Rivers and a Cut – a Staffordshire walk

  1. Nice scenery indeed, Rich. I can imagine those rivers being sacred to Saxons, and long before them. Then everyone up to the Victorians. After all, they were the only source of life-sustaining water, and they had no taps to turn on. 🙂
    Cheers mate, Pete.

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