Middlewich & Return from Nantwich Canal Centre

3 Nights

Maps & Guides for this route: N4, P4, L10 | Click here buy maps

Ideal for novices, a relaxed and mostly rural cruise through the Cheshire countryside to the Roman town of Middlewich, famed for its salt production. The first couple of hours are lock-free, meaning you can get used to handling your narrowboat before getting your windlass ready!

Your cruise starts at Nantwich, a pretty mediaeval town next to the River Weaver.  If you have any time to spare, you may like to visit the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker which is only 15 minutes away by car.  Not so secret anymore, the bunker was built in 1941 by the RAF and was manned continuously until 1966.

Casting off from Nantwich Canal Centre, in just over half an hour you will reach Hurleston Reservoir and the entrance to the Llangollen canal on your left. The reservoir is filled with water which flows along the Llangollen from the Horseshoe Falls at Llantysilio at a rate of about 2mph.  It’s a popular location for fishing and walking.

Just 20 minutes of cruising after the junction you’ll reach the town of Barbridge, where The Barbridge Inn is canalside if you fancy a break.

Leaving Barbridge, turn right onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. The Middlewich Branch was built in 1829 and connects the Shropshire Union Canal with the Trent & Mersey. At that time it was used to transport goods such as salt, coal, timber and bricks.  Once the railways largely took over transporting goods, the Middlewich Branch was thankfully saved and is now a peaceful 10 mile stretch with just an occasional lock and a couple of marinas.

Cholmondeston Lock is your first lock, immediately followed by the huge ‘Venetian Marina’.  You’ll find Dee’s Venetian Tea Rooms here if you fancy a break (open 10am till 4pm every day except Mondays and Tuesdays).

Just an hour or so from Cholmondeston, an aqueduct carries boats over the River Weaver, before reaching the pretty village of Church Minshull. If you moor up between Bridges 14 and 15, a gateway in the hedge provides good access to the village, where refreshments can be found at the 18th century Badger Inn.

At the end of the Middlewich Branch, pass through Wardle Lock and then turn left onto the Trent & Mersey Canal. You have reached Middlewich!   If you go through the Middlewich 3 locks here you can then find a mooring before the winding hole, tie your boat up and go and explore the town. Just north of here you’ll find the Big Lock pub canalside, and can follow the Roman Town Trail exploring the history of the town back to 150AD.  The Trail starts at the Library if you’d like to try it.

Time to turn your trusty narrowboat and start your journey back to Nantwich.

Featured Boats

Featured Boats from Nantwich Canal Centre, Cheshire

Two to Five berth Boats

Alvechurch Wren

Max: 4 People

Length: 49ft

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Six to eight berth Boats

Alvechurch Partridge

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Warbler

Max: 8 People

Length: 69ft

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