Boat Hire

Chester and return from Anderton Marina - 7 Nights

Cruising time per day 5.5 hours • Total locks 44

Day 1

If you are early to the base why not visit the Anderton Boat Lift, only about 5 minutes walk away from the marina and a magnificent feat of engineering!   If you are lucky you might see a boat being lifted and coming onto the canal. 

Turning left out of the marina you will be cruising towards Middlewhich which will take you about 3 hours and you might want to spend your first night here.   After the first turn out of the marina you will be cruising through countryside and rushes, and huge amounts of giant rhubarb!  As you progress there will be a few times when the canal gets very narrow and shallow with a couple of sharp turns – take your time and remember your training and you will be fine.

This stretch is lovely countryside and customers have seen herons, ducks, swallows and rabbits along the way.  Shortly you will be coming up to Northwich where the scenery changes – there is a contrasting short stretch of urbanisation with you passing an extensive factory, formerly an ICI works, now TATA.

Onwards to beautiful countryside – very calm and still.  Just after Bridge 182 is a house with lots of Dove coots in the garden – your boat will scare the doves into flight – a lovely sight and look out for Bridge 179 – just by it is a little black and white house which looks like it was built of toy bricks!  You will pass natural reservoirs caused by subsidence in the canal – they are fenced off because several wrecked boats still remain – you can see the tops of a couple looking like dinosaur skeletons.

You can tell when you are approaching Middlewich – suddenly there are houses and gardens so if you are stopping here on your first night start looking for a place to moor.  All the moorings before the next broad lock are permit holders only though so you might have to go through the lock before mooring.

From the canal you can walk into the market town of Middlewich and have a well earned bite to eat or visit one of the local shops for provisions.


Day 2

You might plan to travel through to Barbridge junction today or perhaps a bit further.  This is an isolated spot, so if you haven’t got provisions take a quick walk into Middlewich before you get under way.  It will take you about 5-6 hours cruising to reach this point – count up the miles you want to travel, add the number of locks and divide by 3 – this will give you the number of hours it should take you.  Don’t forget your daily checks before you set off – there is a water point just beyond the next bridge (number 172).   

There will be 4 locks coming up in relatively quick succession.  The 4th lock is on the ‘Shroppie’ and to get to it there is a sharp right turn off the Trent and Mersey under the Wardle Bridge.  There is a plaque on the bridge announcing Wardle canal, the world’s shortest around 50 yards, and it is the distance to the 4th lock.   

There is a little stretch before the next lock and if you wanted to moor up just outside of Middlewich this would also be a good spot.  There are long, straight stretches of canal with a good grassy towpath on the right and houses on the left with their gardens leading to the canals edge.

There is one more lock before you are on the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.  This will continue until Barbridge where it meets the Shroppie main line.  It is beautiful cruising and you can take your time to enjoy the beautiful wooded canal banks, wide stretches of canal that look more like a river in places and the flat green fields.  There are a few large marinas along the way where you can moor up and get water or dispose of your rubbish. The ‘Aquaduct Marina’ is the largest and the first one you come to.  There is a café/restaurant if you want to stop for refreshments, moorings, electricity and pump outs are available if required.

Very shortly after this marina is Minshull Lock and then the canal continues again, occasionally wide, occasionally narrow, sometimes straight, sometimes snaking, but always beautiful and relaxing.

The second marina you will come to is ‘Venetian Marina’ and Cholmondeston Lock is here too. From here isn’t far to Barbridge Junction and if you make good time you can turn at Barbridge to get onto the main line and then find moorings for the night.


Day 3

You can make today your Chester day!  If you moor up at Christleton just outside Chester you can take a bus into town - this avoids 5 broad locks going down into Chester and around 3 hours cruising each way.  Or if you want to go right into Chester you can plan to moor up at Christleton and then make your way into Chester on day 4.

Bunbury staircase lock will be your first exercise of the day.  Once through this you will come to a stretch of winding canal before Tilstone Lock and then the next lock is Beeston Stone Lock.  After this is Beeston Iron Lock which is a broad lock.  One more lock to go through (Wharton) and then it is a long stretch to Christleton.  As you cruise you will be able to see Beeston Castle in the distance,   Waverton church tower and then you will be on the outskirts of Chester.

As you near closer to Christleton the canal is lined with houses with sweeping gardens down to the water’s edge and the canal becomes narrower.   You might want to find a mooring close to the tall building with ‘Inkeepers Lodge’ on the side or you can continue closer to Christleton where you will find places to eat if you are not planning on cooking.



Day 4

In the morning you can get water just before bridge 122 and then begin your journey into Chester.  There are 5 broad locks to go through to Chester town centre and not much cruising between locks.

If you want to moor the right way for day 5 look out for the last turning point which is just before bridge 123B.  This will save time for you tomorrow, but you may not be concerned with this – you are on holiday after all!

From here you can walk into town, turn left at the bridge and in a few minutes you are in the town centre.  The historic town of Chester has plenty to do – you can walk the City Walls, visit the Cathedral or take advantage of the shopping, entertainment and dining options in the city (


Day 5

Now for the return journey.  You will be going back along the same canals, but because of the different times of day will see things from a new perspective and you will meet other boaters along the way.

You will know the mooring points so can pick to moor in the same place or try somewhere new – if you are following the same sort of mooring places you could choose to stop before Barbridge Junction by the end of this day so you can start back onto the Middlewich Branch of the ‘Shroppie’ the next day, or you could push on and moor just after it.


Day 6

From Barbridge to Middlewich will give you a nice relaxed day of cruising, but make sure push on past Middlewich to moor at the end of the day so you are ready to return the boat to Anderton Marina the next morning.


Day 7

The last morning – cruise back to Anderton, get your boat refuelled and tell us about your adventures!

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

Alvechurch Weaver - 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

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

Alvechurch Thrush - 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

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

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

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

Alvechurch Owl - For a maximum of 10 people, 6+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern

Alvechurch Swan - For a maximum of 12 people, 8+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern

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