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Shardlow is a fascinating place to explore, still busy with boats, now used for leisure and not for commerce. Waterway traffic has always been important to the village and in the second half of the 17th century, Wilden Ferry, near Shardlow had become the head of the Trent navigation.

The rapid growth of industry in the second part of the 18th century required an improved and inexpensive transportation system if it was to be sustained. Rivers often obstructed by weirs were not the answer and roads were not suitable for long distance transportation.

A solution to the transportation problem came when James Brindley from Derbyshire, who could not read or write properly, but had a brilliant brain. He designed and built the Trent and Mersey Canal, known as the Grand Trunk. It connected canal systems throughout the country. After it opened Shardlow became an important inland port.

For more information, visit Shardlow Heritage Centre, situated in what was a farrier’s shop. There you will see a small remnant of a twelve-foot long oak boat that was exposed by spring floods at Shardlow quarry, in the bed of a former side channel of the River Trent. The boat, probably dating from the middle Bronze Age, about 1300 BC, was still carrying some of its cargo of quarried stone. Archaeologists examining the find described its discovery as ‘spectacular’.

The well laid out Heritage Centre contains a wide range of displays relating to the colourful history of Shardlow. Since the creation of a Conservation Area in 1975, the whole area once neglected and largely derelict, has been restored to much of its former glory. So that it can now proudly claim to be one of the best-preserved inland canal ports in the country.


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Shardlow Heritage Centre is adjacent to the Clock Warehouse Family Pub and fronts onto the Trent and Mersey Canal.


It is open from Easter to October on Saturdays and Sundays, also Bank Holidays. Opening times are from 12noon to 5pm.


Evening/group visits may be arranged by appointment. For further information telephone - 01332 814104/792334/792489.



A small remnant of a twelve-foot long oak boat that was exposed by spring floods at Shardlow quarry, on exhibition at the Heritage Centre. The boat, probably dates from the middle Bronze Age, about 1300 BC.




Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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