On the River Churnet

Grid Refs: SK 024 471 & SK 055 448
2 March 2004 and 15 June 2018

kilns spacer Hetty's
Lime kilns at Froghall in 2018   Hetty's Tearoom at Froghall Wharf in 2018
Pub   War Memorial
The Lord Nelson, Oakamoor   War Memorial and carved bollards
Signal box   Bollard
Signal box and tunnel entrance, Oakamoor   The ship laying the transatlantic cable in 1857
Church   Bollard
Holy Trinity, Oakamoor   Staffordshire Knot


Walking in the Churnet Valley around Froghall and Oakamoor, it is difficult to imagine that this was once a major industrial area. At Froghall Wharf there is a car park with some posters explaining the lime kilns. Limestone was brought from Cauldon Lowe by rail. There were four successive rail systems starting in 1778. Cauldon Lowe is about 680 feet higher than the wharf and this produced severe problems. Horses were used initially as the source of power. A second line was built in 1785 but this was improved by introducing inclined planes. These involved a full waggon descending on one track on a cable which ran round a wheel and drew up an empty waggon on a parallel track. A fourth railway was built in the 1840s and ran until 1920. It is possible to walk from Froghall along the line of the track. In 1770 about 50 tons a week were delivered to Froghall but by the middle of the 19th century this had risen to 6,000 tons. Some of the limestone was converted to quicklime at Froghall and some was shipped from the Wharf. The Cauldon Canal was completed in the 1770s and then extended using a tunnel in the 1780s to end at the present site. The site remained active until the early 20th century.  Slaked lime is made by wetting quicklime and was used for making mortar, in iron making and in agriculture to improve clay and acid soils.

Since 2017, the redbrick building at Froghall Wharf has become a splendid tearoom called "Hetty's", serving light meals and homemade scones. From here you can walk along the canal banks to Consal; the canal runs parallel to the Churnet Valley Railway at this point,

Oakamoor was also a hive of activity making copper products. The first transatlantic cable was made at Oakamoor and was layed in 1857. In the village there are several wooden bollards, similar to those in Leek, showing scenes of local interest, including the cable laying. Holy Trinity church, built in 1832, perches precariously on a steep slope.


The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin, 1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9


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