The canal which runs through the northern edge of the village is the Trent and Mersey Canal. It is a popular local amenity, and a regular haunt of fishing enthusiasts, walkers and cyclists using the towpath, and canal boating groups.
More generally, the Trent and Mersey Canal is a 93 1⁄2-mile (150 km) canal extending through Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. It is a "narrow canal" for the vast majority of its length, but at the extremities to the east of Burton Upon Trent and west of Middlewich, it is a wide canal.
There are two listed structures on the canal section which passes through the village, both of which are bridges. Bridge Number 59 is situated at the junction of Old Road and Ford Way, and Bridge Number 60 is at the rear of the St John the Baptist Church graveyard.
The canal is operated by the Canal & River Trust.
As its name implies, the Trent and Mersey Canal was built to link the River Trent at Derwent Mouth in Derbyshire to the River Mersey (and thereby providing an inland route between the major ports of Hull and Liverpool). The Mersey connection is made via the Bridgewater canal, which it joins at Preston Brook in Cheshire.
The plan of a canal connection from the Mersey to the Trent ("The Grand Trunk") came from canal engineer James Brindley. It was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1766 and the first sod was cut by Josiah Wedgwood in July that year at Brownhills, Burslem. In 1777, the canal was completed, including more than 70 locks and five tunnels, with the company headquarters in Stone.
The first known idea to build a canal between the River Mersey and the River Trent was put forward in 1755, though no action was taken at that time. In 1760, Lord Gower, a local businessman and brother-in-law of the Duke of Bridgewater drew up a plan for the Trent and Mersey Canal. If his plan had gone ahead, this would have been the first modern canal constructed in England. James Brindley, the engineer behind many of the canals in England, did his first canal work on the Trent and Mersey, though his first job in charge of construction was on the Bridgewater Canal.
In 1761, Josiah Wedgwood showed an interest in the construction of a canal through Stoke-on-Trent, the location of his Wedgwood pottery, as his business depended on the safe and smooth transport of his pots. Pots transported by road were liable to be damaged and broken, and a canal near to his factory would provide fast and safe transport for his wares. Wedgwood's plan was not to connect the two rivers by canal, but to connect the potteries to the River Mersey. "As a burgeoning industrialist, Wedgwood was a major backer of the Trent and Mersey Canal dug between the River Trent and River Mersey." (a quote taken from a short Biography of Josiah Wedgwood).
Wedgwood, intent to have a waterway connection to his potteries, managed to send his proposal to Parliament, with the help of two of his friends, Thomas Bentley and Erasmus Darwin. John Gilbert's plan for the "Grand Trunk" canal met opposition at the eastern end where, in Burton on Trent, the locals objected to the canal passing parallel to the upper Trent navigation. In 1764, Wedgwood managed to convince Gilbert to include the Potteries in his route. In 1766, Gilbert's plan was authorised by an Act of Parliament. Later that year, "on July 26th a massive celebration was held in the Potteries where Josiah Wedgwood cut the first sod of soil. James Brindley was employed as engineer and work got under way."