Duration: 7 Nights
TOTAL LOCKS: 56
CRUISING TIME PER DAY: 5.5 (35 TOTAL)
Take a leisurely cruise down the scenic Shropshire Union Canal, dotted with pretty towns and villages, to the home of Gingerbread at Market Drayton, and onwards to Brewood in Staffordshire.
This is a real ‘get away from it all’ cruise, but still calling at many interesting places to stop and explore on your journey. Average cruising time of just 5 and a half hours means you have plenty of time for sightseeing or taking in an afternoon tea!
Leaving the medieval town of Nantwich behind, after an hour or so you arrive at the Hack Green locks, where the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker is just a short walk from the canal. The bunker was built underground in 1941 by the RAF and remained secret for 50 years before being transformed into a fascinating museum experience with a handy café on site. You can now tour the original rooms which were designed to support crucial members of Government in the event of a nuclear attack.
Leaving the secrets of the past behind, your next destination is the canalside village of Audlem. Get ready for some exercise as you ascend the 15 lock ‘Audlem Flight’, which raises the canal by over 90ft. You can moor up after the first 3 though and visit the famous ‘Shroppie Fly’ pub or Audlem Mill with its canal shop.
Having tackled the lock flight, a stretch of easy cruising awaits you before you reach some more locks at Adderley. Don’t worry though, there are only 5 this time, and then it’s easy cruising all the way to Market Drayton where there are good visitor moorings a short walk from the town. It’s well worth visiting this historic town which has some beautiful architecture, a 14th century sandstone church, and the stone built ‘Buttercross’ market where the original Billingtons Gingerbread was sold. Don’t forget to sample some at the nearby café!
The 5 Tyrley Locks are set in idyllic wooded countryside, from whence you emerge into a section of canal which is like a magical green glade, with tall high bridges and wildlife galore. You might even spot a kingfisher!
Norbury Junction is a boater’s natural habitat and has a chandlery, CRT offices and a pub canalside. Shortly after this you pass through the Cowley tunnel, which was originally meant to be a lot longer, but was stopped at an early stage due to faults in the rock, so it’s barely a tunnel at all!
Three very attractive towns now await you in quick succession. First is Gnosall, with 2 canalside pubs and a village bakery. Next is Wheaton Aston, with extensive mooring spaces available, and finally, you arrive at the ancient market town Brewood (pronounced ‘Brood’). Take a walk into the town centre where there are several attractive buildings and an old fashioned sweet shop to tempt you with copious bags of goodies.
You can turn your boat a little way after Brewood, to commence your journey back to Nantwich.
Max: 4 People
Max: 6 People
Max: 8 People