NATURE lovers and heritage enthusiasts are being urged to strap on some sturdy boots and step onto the towpath and discover Staffordshire's waterways over the winter.
The Canal & River Trust is encouraging people to use their walks to explore the hidden gems that are just a few miles from home, across the hundreds of miles of waterways in Staffordshire.
Some of the places you could visit this year include:
* Fradley Junction where you can spot kingfishers at the nature reserve before a warming cup of tea, and perhaps a piece of cake, in the canal-side tea rooms;
* Explore the local history, follow a nature park trails, or try your hand at fishing, canoeing, or even pond dipping at Consall Forge on the Caldon Canal;
* Westport Lake, Stoke-on -Trent's largest expanse of water and one of the best places on the canal system to watch birds. People can also check out places to visit via a free mobile app called 'Places to Visit' which will provide information on some of the nation's favourite waterway locations.
It's available to download along with printable information sheets at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit. Most locations are free to visit and require just a little imagination to create a fun-filled family morning or afternoon.
Simon Salem, marketing director for the Canal & River Trust, said: "The canals are a wonderful place to visit and a brisk walk on a crisp winter's morning is a great way to get some fresh air and blow away the cobwebs.
"Canals are really magical during winter and a day out exploring the secret delights of your local waterway is a great way to burn off some of that festive indulgence."