River Trent - The Staffordshire Trent
Leaving Rugeley the river flows east constrained by the higher ground formed by the edge of Cannock Chase to the south passing through a narrow gap between Armitage and Mavesyn Ridware. The settlements on the south side of the river along this section are essentially urban and industrial in nature exploiting the underlying natural resources of coal and clay. North of the river the villages are relatively small and pastoral.
High Bridge at Handsacre marks the end of the high ground with Coal Measures to the south. The river now opens out onto a wider floodplain.
It is joined by the second major tributary the River Blithe near Hamstall Ridware. The River Blithe rises on the eastern edge of Stoke-on-Trent and is impounded at Blithfield Reservoir to provide drinking water for the West Midlands conurbation. From here up to Burton-on-Trent the soils are gley based alluvial.
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