|Leek is the principal town of the Staffordshire Moorlands and the most important centre on the south western edge of the Peak District. It stands on a hill in a large bend in the River Churnet and is locally known as 'The Queen of the Moorlands'.|
The town was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Lec' but there was certainly a settlement here well before that because the churchyard contains two crosses - one is in Mercian style but is damaged and can be dated to the 10th century while the other is a magnificent 11th century Norse style cross.
The Normans gave this area to the Earls of Chester and Ranulf the 6th earl founded Dieu la Cres abbey here in 1210. Until its dissolution in 1537 the abbey was the major economic and cultural centre of the area. The ruins lie across the Churnet 2km north of the town centre but there is now little to see of what must once have been a fine building.
Bonny Prince Charlie passed through in 1745 and Thomas Brindley (the builder of the Bridgewater Canal) built a water mill here in 1750 - this has been restored to working order and is now a fine museum.
In the late 18th and 19th centuries the town changed from a sleepy market town to a centre of silk weaving and several large mills were constructed, one of which can be seen looming above the road to Macclesfield. Leek boomed and the population multiplied during this time but nothing now remains of the silk industry in Leek.
The town still has a lively shopping centre and a market every Wednesday and is a good centre from which to explore the south and west of the Peak.
Leek Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
0 - Leek Butter Market
1 - Leek Churchyard - Norse cross
2 - Leek Parish church
3 - Leek street
4 - Leek - Nicholson Institute
Local places of interest
Brindley Mill Leek, a working watermill built by James Brindley, the builder of the Bridgewater Canal.
Cheddleton Flint Mill
Two water mills on the river Churnet at Cheddeton. One was a Flint mill, built in the late 18th century and the other was a corn mill, dating originally from the 13th century and converted into a Flint mill in the 19th century.
Churnet Valley Railway
The Churnet Valley Railway runs from Leekbrook to Oakamoor alongside the picturesque River Churnet in Staffordshire. Operated by volunteers, it runs steam trains most weekends from March to October.
Rudyard Lake is an artificial lake created between 1797 and 1800 as a reservoir for the local canal system. It is now a centre for fishing, rowing, walking and sight-seeing. A narrow-gauge railway runs for 2 km along side the lake.
Tittesworth Reservoir, (Severn Trent Water) Meerbrook, near Leek, Staffordshire, produces water for Leek, Stoke on Trent and the surrounding area. There is a visitor centre and nearby lies The Roaches, with many opportunities for walking and rock-climbing