Staffordshire Day – 21 Landscape Photos to Celebrate City of Culture (#sot2021)

Staffordshire Day |  21 landscape photos to celebrate City of Culture 2021

Yay, it’s Staffordshire Day!  

A day where we celebrate all that’s good about our home county – so we wanted to shout out ‘loud and proud’ about all that’s good about living in this ‘neck of the woods’.  Why it’s great to live right here in North Staffordshire, both within and around the City of Stoke-on-Trent – but also what’s out there to enjoy right on our very own doorstep.  We often get a bad press, but it’s surprising what this area really has to offer, if you only care to look.  

Here at Human-Nature Escapes, what we do requires us to tap into the wealth of culture that lies within the city, but also the natural beauty which lies ‘out there’ beyond our city limits.  Our county boasts some of the finest countryside landscapes – landscapes which play their own unique part in the making England’s green and pleasant land.

So here’s 21 photos depicting some of Staffordshire’s ‘escape’ landscapes that we enjoy, and reasons why we love life living here in Staffordshire. It’s our way to help celebrate the submission of our bid to become ‘City of Culture 2021’.

(These Staffordshire landscapes represent those we already enjoy and use at Human-Nature, we recognise that this is by no means an exhaustive list of what Staffordshire has to offer.  All images have been captured by advocates, friends and volunteers of Human-Nature Escapes CIC).

People & Place |  our potteries

It’s a city rich in its own history.  Everyone knows Stoke as the world leader in ceramics and pottery – but there are probably very few cities across the world that can boast that they have been, and still remain, a world leader in their craft.  

Middleport

Admittedly, like any other city which has its routes in an industrial past, we can’t escape the fact that we have isolated places and spaces that aren’t so pretty, and might have seen better days.  However, our industrial history cannot be erased from our city-scapes – neither should we wish it to be.  It’s the gift from the past – and it’s part of our cultural heritage.  It gives us a sense of belonging, linking us back to where we came from.  It’s what binds us as people to people, and people to place, and perhaps that is what ‘culture’ is all about.

Some of our favourite parts of this city’s landscape are in fact those derelict factory buildings that line the canal around places like Middleport.  They somehow help to hold our memories and seem to possess an aesthetic character all of their own, albeit it a somewhat tumble-down one.  

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Photo 1 – Derelict buildings at Middleport

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Photo 2 – Anderton Building and behind Burleigh’s Middleport Pottery (The Prince’s Regeneration Trust)

Of course they’re not all like that, the efforts from the likes of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust show how these industrial landscapes and heritage buildings with right level of investment can be revived and transformed into leading tourist attractions.

Canals |  our green corridors

What about the canals themselves, our two canals – The Trent & Mersey and Caldon Canals.  Once the arteries that fed our pottery industry and provided their life-line, bringing in the vital raw materials to add to those like the coal and the clay dug locally, and of course ferrying away the finished ware.

Nowadays the canals (as green corridors) offer a new lifeblood, bringing tourists passing through on leisure craft from the surrounding countryside, but it’s also a way for us town dwellers to get out and about on the towpaths, for our own leisure and wellbeing.  These waterways add strength and vitality as they cut across the heart of our city.

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Photo 3 – Leisure narrowboats on a mooring stop at Aston Marina, near the town of Stone

Etruria

Where our two canals meet is Etruria – the site of the Industrial Heritage Museum, with steam powered bone and flint mill.  The museum also plays host to an annual canal festival, a cultural celebration of life on the canals and local heritage.

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 Photo 4 – Etruria Industrial Museum

Festival Park

Not far from the museum is Festival Park, the former National Garden Festival site.  Evidence that we’ve history in successfully hosting major national events.  Not a lot of people realise, but sandwiched between the retail park and canal still lies a well maintained area of enjoyable green space emanating from the former garden festival – well worth a visit on your next shopping trip.  

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Photo 5 – Daffodils line the pool edges near commercial offices at Festival Park

Of course our landscapes are forever evolving – from heavy industries of the past, to modern commerce and trading through communication and technology – with some rather impressive new build premises (like Bet365) creating a whole new landscape.

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Photo 6 – Just the job, the swanky new offices of BET365, sit near the original factory site of Josiah Wedgwood at Etruria