High Sheriff’s Tour of the Trent Valley.


From Biddulph to Burton: touring the Trent Valley through Staffordshire

Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Through June and July 2021, James Friend, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, will be touring along the River Trent as it flows through the county. Supported by Transforming the Trent Valley (TTTV), a National Lottery Heritage Fund landscape partnership scheme headed by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the High Sheriff will walk, cycle and paddle the Trent raising money for The Community Foundation.

The High Sheriff and his family have already walked the first stage from the headwaters on Biddulph Moor. The tour will kick off in earnest on Thursday 24th June starting at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent where Staffordshire Wildlife Trust have carried out a major river enhancement work as part of the ERDF SUNRISE project to improve the diversity and habitat of the river channel.

The High Sheriff and the Transforming the Trent Valley team will then cycle from Stoke-on-Trent to Wolseley Bridge with the 22-mile cycle ride concluding at the Wolseley Centre, head office for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The tour begins. James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire at the Trent Head Well on Biddulph Moor

The tour begins. James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire at the Trent Head Well on Biddulph Moor

Further stages of the tour will take place over the coming weeks including a walk along the canal through Rugeley to Kings Bromley and walking the Trent Valley Way into Burton. The tour will incorporate stops and diversions to key project locations within the TTTV landscape, including a tour of the Riverside Park at the former Rugeley Power Station site, a visit to our river island restoration project at Cherry Holme and concluding with a Celebration Event on the Burton Washlands on Saturday 31st July.

James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire said “I am pleased to be supporting the great work carried out by the Transforming the Trent Valley team. I am very much looking forward to exploring this beautiful stretch of countryside and hope to raise money in support of The Community Foundation, a charity that is very important to me.

Louise Morris, Project Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley said “we are excited to join the High Sheriff on his tour and celebrate with him some of the fantastic work we have been carrying out over the last couple of years thanks to our grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Tour will conclude on Saturday 31st July at the Transforming the Trent Valley Family Fun Day being held on the Washlands next to Burton Library when the High Sheriff will paddle the River Trent to the Staffordshire border. The Family Fun Day starts at 11am and there will be stalls, activities and guided walks to enjoy. Some of our activities should be booked in advance as we limit numbers to remain COVID safe. Visit the Fun Day webpage to book your places to avoid disappointment www.thetrentvalley.org.uk/funday.php

By the end of the Tour, the High Sheriff will have:

  • Toured: 60 miles along the River Trent from Biddulph to Burton
  • Cycled: 23 miles
  • Walked: 34 miles
  • Paddled: 3 miles
  • Visited: several Transforming the Trent Valley projects including the Cherry Holme river island restoration, Rugeley towpath upgrade, the Trent Valley Way and Rugeley Riverside Park.
  • Supported: 3 events, including a volunteer thank you event at the National Memorial Arboretum and our Family Fun Day on the Burton Washlands.

Follow the tour

Details of the High Sheriff's tour and a gallery of photographs will be posted below as the tour progress throughout June and July 2021. We will also provide updates via our twitter @thetrentvalley feed as the tour progresses.


Press release

Monday 21st June 2021. High Sheriff's Tour of the Trent Valley View Press Release

Monday 27th July 2021. High Sheriff's Tour of the Trent Valley View Press Release

High Sheriff of Staffordshire

On Monday 15th March 2021, James Friend made his declaration and was sworn in as High Sheriff of Staffordshire in a virtual ceremony in the presence of The Hon. Mr Justice Spencer.

I'm supporting the Transforming the Trent Valley landscape partnership scheme by walking, and on occasion paddling and cycling, the Staffordshire length of the proposed new Trent Valley Way footpath which will follow the Trent from the source at Biddulph Moor to Burton, past Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Bridge HQ and the National Memorial Arboretum to promote a wider appreciation of Staffordshire’s wonderful wetland sites along the River Trent.

James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire

More information about the role of the High Sheriff can be found here.


Community Foundation for Staffordshire

The Community Foundation for Staffordshire have worked closely with the office of the High Sheriff for many years, and this has led to the creation of the High Sheriff Fund which awards small grants to Staffordshire based community organisations that are making a significant contribution to the wellbeing of the county.

This tour of the Trent Valley is raising money for The Community Foundation for Staffordshire's High Sheriff Fund, established in 2008 to support local community and voluntary organisations in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Please make a donation to the High Sheriff Fund via our JustGiving page.

Stage 6: 30th July 2021. Tucklesholme to the Burton Washlands.

Details of this stage of the High Sheriff's tour will be posted here soon.

21st July 2021

Victoria Bunter, Living Floodplains Officer for Transforming the Trent Valley explains the importance of this and other River Restoration projects within the scheme area to Jamie Friend, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire.

Stage 5: A site visit to Cherry Holme.

This morning, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire as part of his tour of Staffordshire visited Cherry Holme, the site of an ambitious river restoration project completed by contractors in September 2020 working on behalf of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust as part of the Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The new river channel at Cherry Holme is greening up nicely as nature begins to reclaim and naturalise the channel. Vegetation is taking hold and is already providing a good diversity of habitats for plants, insects, mammals and fish.

For more information about the Cherry Holme river restoration project, please visit our Cherry Holme Feature Page.

The High Sheriff and Transforming the Trent Valley would like to thank the staff at Hanson Aggregates for facilitating our visit today.

Hanson Aggregates
13th July 2021

The High Sheriff of Staffordshire thanks the volunteers and staff of Transforming the Trent Valley for all their hard work through difficult times.

Stage 4: Volunteer Celebration at the National Memorial Arboretum.

On the afternoon of the 13th, Jamie Friend, the High Sheriff swapped his walking gear for some rather more official attire to welcome some of our wonderful volunteers who support the work of Transforming the Trent Valley to the National Memorial Arboretum.

Louise Morris, Scheme Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley began proceedings by welcoming everyone and provided an overview and update on progress. We were also joined by Phil Metcalf, Vice-Chair of the board for Transforming the Trent Valley and Green Infrastructure and Planning Manager at the National Forest Company. Phil said a few words about the importance of the scheme and the valuable and important contribution given freely by our volunteers.

This was followed by a relaxing afternoon tea which was enjoyed by all, It was lovely to have the opportunity to chat with each other, albeit with Covid precautions in place.

Once everyone had had their fill of tea and scones, Jamie spoke to the room and expressed his admiration and heartfelt thanks to the hard working and dedicated team from Transforming the Trent Valley and its partners. He also highlighted the importance of volunteers to the success of such a scheme. Jamie thanked all the volunteers including those unable to attend today for their selfless act of kindness in giving their time freely for such a good cause, and he wished everyone every success.

Following the High Sheriffs speech, all those volunteers present we presented with a certificate of appreciation for their support.

The High Sheriff, his wife Sanda and everyone from Transforming the Trent Valley and its partners would like to thank all our volunteers for all their work and support over the last 18 difficult months.

National Memorial Arboretum

From left to right: Ruth Needham, Senior Catchment Manager (West) and Alison Thornhill, Trent Valley Way Project Officer both from the Trent Rivers Trust with Jamie Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire and Louise Morris, Scheme Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley begin their walk from Kings Bromley along the Trent Valley Way.

Stage 4: Walking the Trent Valley Way from Kings Bromley to Alrewas.

On the morning of Tuesday 13th July, Jamie Friend, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, and his wife Sanda continued their tour of Staffordshire following the Trent Valley Way from Kings Bromley to Alrewas with Transforming the Trent Valley.

Accompanying the High Sheriff was Ruth Needham, Senior Catchment Manager (West) for the Trent Rivers Trust and Alison Thornhill, Trent Valley Way Project Officer for the Trent Rivers Trust and Louise Morris, Scheme Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley.

Trent Rivers Trust



Please Support Staffordshire's High Sheriff Fund

The High Sheriff is raising money for The Community Foundation for Staffordshire's High Sheriff Fund which supports local community and voluntary organisations in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Please make a donation to the High Sheriff Fund via our JustGiving page.

8th July 2021

Opportunities for people and wildlife on land at the former Rugeley Power Station site.

Stage 3: A visit to the former Rugeley Power Station site.

People and wildlife are set to benefit from exciting plans to deliver a suite of habitat enhancements at land adjacent to Riverside Park at the former Rugeley Power Station site. Today, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire discovered more about these plans including how Transforming the Trent Valley and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are working to restore the floodplain and mitigate flooding, working in partnership with Engie.

The High Sheriff and Transforming the Trent Valley would like to thank the staff at Engie for facilitating our visit today.

ENGIE


To find out more about the development of a mixed-use community at the former Rugeley Power Station visit the Rugeley Power Ltd website.

Form more information about the Riverside Park at the former Rugeley Power Station, please see Rugeley Power Station: A New Riverside Park, part of our Living Floodplains project.

Louise Morris, Scheme Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley with James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire, his wife Sanda and daughter Georgina on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Wolseley Bridge.

Stage 3: Walking along the Trent and Mersey Canal from Wolseley Bridge to Kings Bromley.

The 250-year-old Trent and Mersey Canal provides the historic and cultural spine to the Trent Valley. Improvements to surfacing, signage and access for users reconnects communities with both the historic environment and the wider landscape.

Louise Morris, Scheme Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley joins James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire, his wife Sanda and daughter Georgina to walk the third stage of the High Sheriff's Tour of Staffordshire from Wolseley Bridge to Kings Bromley on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Wolseley Bridge.

Along the way, they had an opportunity to see some of the towpath improvements that have been made at Rugeley as part of Transforming the Trent Valley in partnership with the Canal & River Trust.

This leg of the tour illustrates just how important the canal network is as a place for recreation, exercise, relaxation and as a vital sustainable travel network.

Find out more about our Canal Access project.

Canal & River Trust
24th June 2021

James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire, and his wife Sanda (left) make it to the finish line at the Wolseley Centre, headquarters of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at Wolseley Bridge, accompanied by Louise Morris, Scheme Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley and Julian Woolford, CEO of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

Stage 2: The end of Stage 2 and the start of the Transforming the Trent Valley Scheme area at Wolseley Bridge.

The cycle tour ended at the Wolseley Centre, headquarters of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at Wolseley Bridge. This marked the end of stage 2 of the tour and the start of the Transforming the Trent Valley scheme area.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire and Louise Morris, Scheme Manager of Transforming the Trent Valley on Essex Bridge.

Stage 2: A detour to Essex Bridge.

A slight detour was made to visit the Essex Bridge; a Grade I listed packhorse bridge spanning the River Trent at its confluence with the River Sow at Great Haywood. This iconic bridge was built in the late sixteenth century by the Earl of Essex. It is now the longest remaining packhorse bridge in England.

The Essex Bridge carries the long-distance footpath The Staffordshire Way over the River Trent, linking the Trent and Mersey Canal tow-path with the bridleway through the Shugborough estate and on to Cannock Chase. It also marks the most westerly point of the Transfoming the Trent Valley Landsacpe Partnership Scheme lanscape area along the River Trent.

Transforming the Trent Valley

Sandon Park was laid out between 1778 and 1787 by William Emes, and again around 1800 by John Webb and provided an inspirational backdrop for this stage of the tour.

Stage 2: The wheels come off at Sandon Park!

The High Sheriff followed National Cycle Network 5 before diverting through Sandon Park for what seemed like an easy section of the tour. Halfway through the grounds, the High Sheriff suffered a puncture, and a replacement bike was duly summoned.

Fortunately, Julian Woolford, Staffordshire Wildlife Trusts CEO was part of the tour and as a seasoned cyclist was well prepared for all eventualities. The front wheel was quickly removed and after a short battle with the tyre levers, the old innertube was free. A spare innertube was quickly deployed from Julian’s spares and after a few minutes, the group was back on the road, heading towards Great Haywood.

Many thanks to Sandon Hall for allowing the tour to go through Sandon Park. Find out more about Sandon Hall and Park.

James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire joins the towpath alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal at Stoke-on-Trent.

Stage 2: Cycling tour begins.

The High Sheriff of Staffordshire continued his tour by cycling along the Trent and Mersey Canal from Stoke-on-Trent to Stone where he visited the Grade II listed Trent and Mersey Canal Yard Lock.

The High Sheriff was very keen to meet some of the hard-working volunteers from the Canal and River Trust who were undertaking some general maintenance work. He also met with the Cllr. Tony Nixon and Mrs Hazel Nixon, Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Stafford; Cllr. Mrs Kelly Dawson, Deputy Town Mayor of Stone and The Reverent Prebendary Gerald Gardiner, the High Sheriff's Chaplain.

Following a light lunch and refreshments, the High Sheriff then met with Jemma Hancock from Stafford and Stone Canoe Club.

Cllr Dr. Chandra Kanneganti, The Lord Mayor of the City of Stoke-on-Trent gives the thumbs up as James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire (centre) and his wife Sanda (left) begin the second stage of their tour accompanied by Transforming the Trent Valley Scheme Manager Louise Morris (right).

Stage 2: Visit to the SUNRISE project at Staffordshire University.

On the morning of Thursday 24th June, The High Sheriff of Staffordshire visited the SUNRISE Project; a £3.6 million project in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme that unites the efforts of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust with the overlapping aims of its project partners Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Groundwork West Midlands, Staffordshire County Council, and the Wild Trout Trust.

The project is funded by a grant from ERDF, the European Regional Development Fund, with match funding coming from the project partners.

Find out more about the SUNRISE project.

From left to right Professor Martin Jones (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Staffordshire University), Cllr Abi Brown (Leader, Stoke-on-Trent City Council), Cllr Dr. Chandra Kanneganti, The Lord Mayor of the City of Stoke-on-Trent and his wife, Julian Woolford (Chief Executive, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire and his wife Sanda, Louise Morris (Scheme Manager, Transforming the Trent Valley), Richard Guy (Project Manager, SUNRISE, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust).

Richard Guy (left), Project Manager for the SUNRISE project provides some background to the project and its aims.

30th May 2021

James Friend, High Sheriff of Staffordshire and his family at Kynpersley Reservoir.

Stage 1: The High Sheriff's tour of the Trent Valley begins.

The High Sheriff and his family walked the first stage of his tour of the Trent Valley; a distance of approximately 12 miles, from the headwaters of the River Trent on Biddulph Moor to Staffordshire University.


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