Boat Hire

Nantwich and return from Whitchurch Marina - 3 Nights

Cruising Time Per Day 7hrs • Total Locks 40


Whitchurch to Nantwich –
Through Grindley Brook, past Wrenbury & Hurleston Junction, to Nantwich and back – 3 nights – total locks 38 (19 x 2)


A journey of churches and mills, this fascinating route will take you back in time to the Romans, and will uncover stories of rectors, bishops and monks – and the generosity of a Queen. Along the way, you’ll be treated to lift bridges, locks and aqueducts, all set in glorious sweeping landscapes.

After leaving the marina, head eastwards along the Llangollen Canal past the short Whitchurch Arm. If time allows, Whitchurch is a pretty town dating back to Roman times and recorded in the Domesday Book. The town also has some claim to canal fame as a former rector of the Grade I-listed St Alkmund’s Church was Francis Henry Egerton, from the lineage of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater who instructed canal engineer James Brindley to build the Bridgewater Canal, hence launching a canal revolution!

Grindley Brook presents your first major canal challenge – the first three of Grindley Brook’s six locks are joined together in a staircase – but don’t worry, there is a lock keeper to help during the busy summer season. The canal then drops slowly down through another three isolated locks then ambles its way through rural surroundings towards Wrenbury.

The Sandstone Trail and Bishop Bennet Way meet the canal at Willeymoor Lock and its pub – both are 34 miles long, and the latter was originally designed as a horse trail named after William Bennet (1745- 1820), Bishop of Cork and Ross then later Bishop of Cloyne, who carried out detailed surveys of Roman roads including those between Chester (Deva) and Whitchurch (Mediolanum).

The quiet surroundings give way to a sudden burst of activity as you pass through several of the lift bridges at Wrenbury which are synonymous with the Llangollen Canal. There is also a busy boatyard, a couple of handy pubs (including one in a former corn mill) and, a short walk from the canal, thatched cottages and a church ranged around the quintessentially English village green. St. Margaret’s Church sits on the site of the original sister chapel which was established in the 1100s by the Cistercian monks of nearby Combermere Abbey. Much of the church now dates from the 17th and 18th centuries and has many reminders of two important local families, the Cottons of Combermere and the Starkeys of Wrenbury Hall. The two families were bitter rivals over both land and pews in the church, and the dispute was finally settled in 1748 with each family being allocated a specific side of the church in which to sit. There’s also an unusual pew for the ‘dog whipper’, reputedly in charge of controlling both dogs and snoozing parishioners!

Back into mainly remote countryside, the canal descends a couple of flights of locks before reaching Hurleston Junction, where the Llangollen Canal meets the Shropshire Union Canal.
Heading southwards, the canal soon crosses the stunning Grade II*-listed cast-iron aqueduct, designed by Thomas Telford in 1826, just outside Nantwich. Take time to moor up and explore this historic market town, a short walk to the east of the aqueduct. Nantwich was first established in Roman times, but was mostly rebuilt after a brewer accidentally started the ‘great fire of Nantwich’ in 1583, which destroyed over 150 buildings. Such was the uproar that Queen Elizabeth I and her privy council ordered a national fundraising appeal and even donated £1,000 herself (approximately £150,000 today) to help rebuild the town, resulting in the many beautiful black and white beamed Elizabethan buildings throughout the town. The Queen’s generosity is marked by a plaque on a building now called ‘Queen’s Aid House’ in Nantwich Square.

Once you have soaked up the delights of Nantwich, it’s time to turn and retrace your journey to Hurleston Junction then back onto the Llangollen Canal to return to the marina at Whitchurch.



The following are examples of the boats that you can hire from ABC Boat Hire at Whitchurch Marina:


Alvechurch Grebe - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Tyne Class - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 48ft, Crusier Stern

Viking Tyne Class - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 48ft, Crusier Stern

Viking Tyne Class - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 48ft, Crusier Stern

Alvechurch Wren - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Bunting - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 47ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Heron - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 58ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Viking Medway Class - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 57ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Medway Class - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 57ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Lark - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Derwent Class - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Derwent Class - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Wye Class - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 68ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Wye Class - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 68ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Warbler - For a maximum of 8 people, 6 + 2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-Traditional Stern



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