Marine Cruises narrow boat holiday hire on the Cheshire Ring

Narrow Boat Holiday Hire on the Cheshire Ring

cheshireRingThe Cheshire Ring makes a great narrow boat holiday hire route for more experienced boaters. On a Ring Route you don’t need to retrace your steps, you see somewhere new each day, but you do have to be able to plan your time and keep to that deadline of getting the boat back on time! Some people prefer out and back routes because all you have to do is turn around when you are half way through the holiday! The Cheshire Ring is more suited to experienced boaters because the Ashton Canal south of Manchester is fairly urban and the locks and bridges can be hard to operate.


The Cheshire Ring can be cruised from our Swanley base in a very busy week cruising for over eight hours each day, or in two weeks if you prefer to take your time and explore. You can travel in either direction around the ring, we describe the anticlockwise journey.

From our Swanley base you travel off the Llangollen Canal down Hurleston Locks and then up the Shropshire Union Canal for a short distance to Barbridge, where you turn right to Middlewich. From Middlewich the lock work starts in earnest with the Cheshire locks ahead of you stretching all the way up to Red Bull and Hardings Wood Junction where you join the Macclesfield via an aqueduct. This is a lovely canal passing through Congleton and Macclesfield to the junction at Marple.

Now you head north down the Marple flight of locks towards Manchester, first on the Peak Forest Canal, then on the Ashton Canal. The canals south of Manchester have undergone much recent regeneration, for example the Castlefields complex and the reopening of the Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow Canals.

A long lock-free section of the Bridgewater Canal follows and brings you through the Preston Brook Tunnel to join the Trent and Mersey canal at a very shallow stop lock.

You continue lock free, travelling along the contours of the hill overlooking the Weaver Valley with two more short but twisty tunnels, passing the Anderton Lift with its new visitor centre, on through glorious countryside to Middlewich. Now you turn right on the ‘New Cut’ and head back home.


Cheshire Ring facts…

Canals Trent & Mersey Canal, Macclesfield canal, Peak Forest Canal, Ashton Canal, Bridgewater Canal
Length 97 miles
Time to cruise about 50 to 55 hours
Locks 92
Junctions Trent & Mersey/Macclesfield Canal at Hardings Wood, Peak Forest Canal at Marple, Ashton Canal at Ashton-under-Lyne, Bridgewater Canal at Castlefields, Trent & Mersey Canal at Preston Brook