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You can do this route from :
Bollington Wharf.

Bollington Wharf



A fascinating trip that takes you through the heart of Manchester and the Peak District with its distinctive stone architecture.

The Cheshire Ring is a canal cruising circuit or canal ring, which includes sections of six canals in and around Cheshire and Greater Manchester in North West England: the Ashton Canal, Peak Forest Canal, Macclesfield Canal, Trent and Mersey Canal, Bridgewater Canal and Rochdale Canal.

It passes through contrasting landscapes between Manchester city centre and rural Cheshire with views of the Peak District and the Cheshire Plain.

Moor at Castlefields to explore the city of Manchester, including Old Trafford, home of Manchester United F.C., the huge Arndale shopping centre and the Science & Industry Museum. The trip will let you enjoy glorious scenery as the Pennine Range overlooks the canal and, if time allows, detour along the Peak Forest canal to its terminus.

Enjoy the stunning views from Marple and at Anderton pause to visit the fabulously restored boat lift which now operates throughout the cruising season to link the canal with the River Weaver.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 7 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 8.00 to 11.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 53.50 hours

Total Distance : 97.00 miles

Number of Locks : 92

Number of Tunnels : 6

Number of Aqueducts : 0

Read the Cruising Notes

Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holiday

Read our cruising notes.


Download the Cruising Notes

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Download our cruising notes.





Cruising Notes

§§§§§§§§0Navigational Notes

Saltersford Tunnel
Tunnel entry is as follows:
Northbound (Saltersford Tunnel to Preston Brook) - Entry on the hour until 20 minutes past the hour.
Southbound (Saltersford Tunnel to Barnton) - Entry 30 minutes past the hour until 10 minutes to the hour.

Preston Brook Tunnel
Tunnel times are as follows:
Northbound: open on the hour, and remains open until 10 past the hour.
Southbound: open at half past the hour, and remain opens until 20 to the hour.

Preston Brook
Information for Canal & River Trust Licence Holders visiting the Bridgewater Canal
All C&RT craft are subject to the terms and conditions of the Bridgewater Canal whilst they remain on our waterway.
C&RT licence holders may remain on the Bridgewater Canal for periods not exceeding seven consecutive days.
C&RT craft wishing to extend beyond the 7 day reciprocal arrangement period must obtain a temporary short term Bridgewater Canal Licence at a cost of £40 for 7 consecutive days. If you wish to obtain a temporary short term Bridgewater Canal licence please contact the Bridgewater Canal Company on telephone 0161 629 8266.

Castlefield Junction
Information for Canal & River Trust Licence Holders visiting the Bridgewater Canal
All C&RT craft are subject to the terms and conditions of the Bridgewater Canal whilst they remain on our waterway.
C&RT licence holders may remain on the Bridgewater Canal for periods not exceeding seven consecutive days.
C&RT craft wishing to extend beyond the 7 day reciprocal arrangement period must obtain a temporary short term Bridgewater Canal Licence at a cost of £40 for 7 consecutive days. If you wish to obtain a temporary short term Bridgewater Canal licence please contact the Bridgewater Canal Company on telephone 0161 629 8266.

Cruising Notes

Day 1

Your cruise will be south from the Marina.
Bollington is a suburb of Macclesfield. There are some pubs – Dog and Partridge (garden, children welcome); Holly Bush (beer garden), and The Plaice (licensed fish restaurant).

If you want to moor up and go into Macclesfield, the best place to moor is near Bridge 37, where you will see a vast old converted mill overlooking the canal. Built in the 1820's, it is the Hovis Mill, where flour was milled. It is now luxury apartments. Pubs in Macclesfield include Dolphin Inn, Navigation, Puss In Boots, and Britannia. All have a garden and children are welcome.
It is 1 hours to here and a good place to moor for the night to stock up on those supples you have forgotten and to have a look around Macclesfield.

Day 2

As you leave Macclesfield, you will soon reach the Gurnett Aqueduct, with a pub nearby, the Old Kings Head, with a garden, children welcome.

A little further on is Royal Oak Swing Bridge in Oakgrove, you will see the foothills and mountains of the Pennines, tumbling down towards the canal, which is now quite remote and quiet. Shortly, you will reach your first locks, Bosley Locks, a flight of 11. At the end of the flight is another small aqueduct, Dane Aqueduct.

Round a large curve, then under the railway viaduct, and soon you will reach the hamlet of Buglawton, a suburb of Congleton, to the right of the canal. There is a pub near here called Robin Hood, which it is claimed, is haunted! It dates from 1787, and was the Court Room, and is south west of bridge 61.

Moving on, you will soon be in Congleton, a busy market town. Moor up and have a look around if you wish. There are shops, restaurants, walks, cycle routes, and Mow Cop Castle to see. For more information, visit Some of the local pubs are Wharf Inn and Moss Inn, both with gardens, and children and welcome.

Leaving Congleton behind, Watery Lane Aqueduct is next, then the canal runs straight, through a series of bridges, and you can moor up along here for the night if you wish, perhaps near Scholar Green, to your right. This is a small village, again with some pubs – Travellers Rest and Rising Sun, both welcoming children and have gardens.

If you stop here, at the visitor moorings, you will have cruised around 8 hours.

Day 3

Today you will navigate 27 locks on your way to Wheelock, where you can moor for the night if you wish.
Leaving Scholar Green, you will soon approach the junction of the Trent and Mersey Canal and Hall Green Branch. You will turn right here towards Kidsgrove, onto the Trent and Mersey Canal, and over the Red Bull Aqueduct. The first locks are here, before you reach Church Lawton and the next locks, 9 in total stretched over one mile.

Soon you will reach Rode Heath where there are shops, so you can stock up on supplies if you need to. There is a canalside pub here too, The Broughton Arms, with canalside seating and a garden. Children welcome, but not in the bar area.

Another village is soon in view, just prior to the motorway bridge, Hassall Green. There is a haunted pub called The Romping Donkey, and restaurant called Lockside 57 here. Both welcome children and have outdoor seating.

Beyond Bridge 151 is Malkin's Bank Golf Club and Wedding Venue. Very soon you will reach Wheelock, where you can moor up for the night if you wish. There is a fish and chip shop in the village, and the following pubs: Nags Head and the Cheshire Cheese, both with gardens, children and dogs welcome.

Once moored, you will have cruised 8 miles and navigated 27 locks in around 8½ hours.

Day 4

Your mooring for tonight will be close to the east end of Barnton Tunnel.

It's quiet now, as you leave the suburbs of Wheelock, and soon you will pass Paddy's Wood on your right, then go under Rookery Railway Bridge No. 158. Again, to the right, you will see signs of habitation as you go under Elton Moss Bridge No. 160.

The canal is straight for a while, and then you approach the suburbs of Middlewich, where you will stay on the Trent and Mersey Canal at the junction. Then go through Middlewich locks. If you want to moor up and look around, there is plenty to see in this town. Since Roman times the town has been a producer of salt.

There are plenty of pubs and restaurants here, among them The Big Lock (garden; children and dogs welcome); The Boars Head; The Newton Brewery Inn (garden; children welcome), and The Kings Lock (canalside seating; children welcome until 9pm; dogs in bar area only).

Croxton Aqueduct crosses the River Dane and follows alongside the canal, into the peaceful countryside, the canal overhung with pretty trees and following the curve of the hill. Near Broken Cross Boating Club, by bridge no. 176, there are moorings with picnic and barbecue areas.

Shortly, the canal veers to the right towards bridge no. 180a, passing under the railway, and taking you to the outskirts of Northwich.

There is a small settlement called Broken Cross, just as you go under the motorway bridge. There is a pub here called Old Broken Cross, which has moorings, and a small canalside garden. Children and dogs are welcome. Next, is Northwich, lying at the junction of the rivers Dane and Weaver. The town centre is close to the canal, and has a large shopping precinct. There are a few pubs left here, after the town was 'rebuilt', such as the Wharf (canalside; children welcome).

You will notice it becoming increasingly industrialised as you near Anderton, and this is because of the thriving salt industry in this area. You'll also see beautiful countryside, and large 'lakes' called 'Flashes', off to the left, close to Marston, where many of the houses collapsed due to subsidence from the salt industry.

A little further and you will reach Marbury Country Park, on the right, near bridge no. 198. There are visitor moorings here and a picnic area, within the 200 acre grounds. For more information, visit

Anderton Boat Lift is the next point of interest on the canal. Stay on the main canal, as the boat lift would take you down to the Weaver Navigation. If you have time, you may want to stay and take a look at the Boat Lift, and perhaps visit the cafe here. It is a magnificent piece of engineering built in 1875 by Edward Leader Williams, an English civil engineer. For more information, visit The Stanley Arms (canalside; children welcome) is directly opposite the Boat Lift.

Barnton is to your right, and then you will be near to the east end of the Barnton Tunnel (572yds long). Find a convenient place to moor along here, but not too close to the tunnel.

If you moor up near here, you will have cruised 17 miles and navigated 9 locks in around 8½ hours.

Day 5
Today you will have only one lock to navigate, so plenty of time to take in the scenery around you.

Once through Barnton Tunnel, you will very shortly approach Saltersford Tunnel (424yds long; see Navigational Notes), then an aqueduct. All the while, the Weaver Navigation is alongside the canal, and once through Saltersford Tunnel you will be once again in open countryside.

Once you are more or less level with Dutton Hall, the Weaver Navigation veers off to the left, leaving the side of the Trent and Mersey. The canal carries on through pleasant countryside, then some woods, before entering the Preston Brook Tunnel (1239yds long; see Navigational Notes). At the end of the tunnel, there is a notice which informs you that from now on, you're on the Bridgewater Canal.

Pubs en route from Barnton to Preston Brook are Leigh Arms (moorings and garden; children and dogs welcome); Horns Inn (garden; children welcome); Hollybush (garden; children welcome), and Tunnel Top (garden; children and dogs welcome).

Next, under the M56, then take the right hand fork, because if you go left, you will reach a dead end in Runcorn. From the canal you can get good views of the Manchester Ship Canal. Where the railway meets the canal, at Daresbury, there is a church which has a stained glass window dedicated to Lewis Carroll, who was born in Daresbury. The window depicts him with the dormouse, Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, from the Alice in Wonderland stories that he wrote.

Cruising through a rural stretch, you will soon reach Higher Walton, visible through the trees, then the suburbs of Stockton Heath, via Lower Walton. Stockton Heath is a suburb of Warrington, and has shops and local services.

A little further on is Grappenhall, a cobbled street village, with stocks still remaining near the church. Sherlock Holmes was filmed here. There are a couple of pubs here Rams Head (outside seating), and Parr Arms (outside seating), both of which are on the cobbled street. Then, just a little further is Thelwall, which is just a short walk from the Thelwall Underbridge. There is a pub here called Penny Ferry Inn (garden; children welcome), so-called because it is right by 'The Penny Ferry', where for a small charge, the ferry will take you across the Ship Canal.
Under the M6 bridge and you will soon be in Lymm, where the streets tumble down to the canalside, making it a very pretty place to cruise through. There are 24 hour moorings here if you should want to stop a while. Again, there are plenty of pubs and restaurants to choose from – Golden Fleece (canalside; children welcome until 8pm); Bulls Head (children welcome during the day only), and Trattoria Baci, and Italian restaurant.

Before you know it, the suburbs of Sale are upon you. Sale is a vast residential suburb of Manchester, with many Victorian buildings. There is the Waterside Arts Centre and Robert Bolt Theatre,

There are many pubs and restaurants to choose from, among them The Waterside, by Sale Bridge no. 35 (patio seating; smart casual dress – no sportswear/shorts); The Railway Inn, also by Sale Bridge (outside seating; children welcome until 9pm), and Bridge Inn (moorings; garden; children welcome), by bridge no. 36a.

From Timperley Bridge no. 33, you can take the Metrolink tram from the station beside the canal, into Manchester if you moor up here for the night, or you may want to cruise to the outskirts, nearer the M60 bridge, and moor there.

You will have cruised 25 miles and 1 lock in around 8½ hours.

Day 6
Once under the M60 bridge, you will be entering Stretford, and on the way to Waters Meeting, where you will need to bear right, towards Manchester. Between bridges 93 and 94 you will pass Manchester United Football Ground on the right, then a little further, to the left you can see Salford Quays,; The Lowry Centre,, and the Imperial War Museum,

For more information on what you can see and do in Manchester, if you decide you want to moor up, use the visit Manchester link (useful links)

The Manchester Ship Canal is just across the tow path at Pamona Lock, as is the new Metrolink- the new electric supertram.

You will cruise through Castlefield Junction (see Navigational Notes), then some more locks as you make your way to the Ancoats Locks. Take the right hand fork, which takes you towards Droylsden on the Ashton Canal, through more locks. The canal is now densely populated, with a busy towpath. En route you will cruise through Openshaw, and through the Fairfield Locks, then you can moor up somewhere near here, for the night.

Pubs along this part of the canal are, among others, The Pearl Restaurant Bar and Lounge in Audenshaw; Strawberry Duck, canalside by Lock 13, and Bridge Inn, near bridge no. 11 (outside seating; children welcome).

You would have cruised 9 miles and navigated 26 locks in around 8½ hours.

Day 7 Day 8
Today you will return to the marina at Bollington Wharf.
Continue along the Ashton canal until you reach the Dukinfield junction with the Huddersfield Narrow canal , but you turn right down the Peak Forest Canal towards Hyde. Near bridge 2 Ashton Street bridge, the Globe Hotel is canalside.
The Haughton Dale nature reserve near bridge 9 has walking & cycling through pasture and woodlands.
Just before Woodley Tunnel, the Navigation Inn is just along the road to your left.
The canal then dives into Hyde Tunnel, just 308 yards long, you pass over 2 small aqueducts near Hatherlow, there are 2 pubs to the east of bridge 14.
Romiley, Bredbury & Woodley are all passed along this stretch as the canal heads southwards, the scenery is becoming more rural it is nevertheless still very interesting.

Go over the ancient monument that is the Marple Aqueduct which carries the canal over the River Goyt about 100 feet above the river, alongside is the even bigger railway viaduct.
There is no mooring once you start the Marple Flight, so you cannot stop once you have started.

Once the flight has been done you are at the Marple Junction and you turn right onto the Macclesfield Canal towards Macclesfield
There are various pubs- The Ring o bells by bridge 2 and the Pineapple Inn just a short walk from there.

At Marple Junction are the attractive buildings of Marple Yard, this busy canal centre is framed by the mountainous country across the Goyt Valley. The canal here is 500 ft above sea level.

There is a useful shop downhill from bridge 6 as you pass Hawk Green & Goyt Mill.
There are useful moorings and supplies at High Lane, the Bulls Head is canalside.

Below Higher Poynton the canal becomes wider, be sure to stick to the main channel.
The village of Higher Poynton is very picturesque, with lots of geese, ducks & swans, the Boars Head is down the hill from bridge 15.

Also from this bridge is a footpath leading to Lyme Park, a magnificent Italianate palace, a national trust property set in 1400 acres of parkland containing deer. Originally a Tudor house it was converted by a venetian architect, but some Elizabethan interiors can be seen. The house featured in the BBC's production of Price & Prejudice, and has lots to see, including countless works of art.

The house is open Fri-Tues 13.00-17.00.
The tree lined canal continues southwards through open countryside to Bollington, and there is a good view of this stone-built town from the huge canal embankment that cuts across it. From here it is only 1 mile to the boundary of the Peak District national park. West of bridge 27 is a sociable village pub.


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
Norton Priory Canal Boat
Class : Norton
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).


Maps and Guides

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Pub Guide

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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.