Short
Breaks

Ellesmere & return from Whitchurch Marina

3 Nights
CRUISING TIME PER DAY: 5.5 HOURS (11 HOURS IN TOTAL)

A relaxing short break, teeming with interest, and bursting with international importance. Your lock-free journey will take you past giant moss-filled bogs, home to wildfowl and exotic plants, through lush green fields, seeking rare birds hiding in big skies, and treading vital canal heritage. 

Whitchurch Marina is only a short walk outside the pretty town of Whitchurch which is worth some exploration if your itinerary allows. The town dates back to Roman times and is recorded in the Domesday Book. Whitchurch 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! 

Leaving Whitchurch Marina behind, the canal winds its way southwards through a landscape of open fields. Then, just beyond the junction with the short Prees Branch, the canal crosses the huge expanse of the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Together with Cadney and Wem Mosses, the area forms Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog, it is also a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, a European Special Area of Conservation, and is apparently large enough to be seen from space! It is teeming with plant and insect life, and of course plenty of bird spotting opportunities too, with regular sightings of Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and countless others.

Just past bridge 53, the canal bends round past Cole Mere, the first of several meres along this stunning landscape. The short Ellesmere Tunnel (87yds/80m long) signals your approach to the small town of Ellesmere. There’s plenty to explore here including the Meres Visitor Centre by the large Mere which gave Ellesmere its name. Ellesmere Yard, just opposite the short town arm, was once a typical sight along Britain's canals, and is now a rare example of an unspoilt and much-cherished canal scene, a well-preserved canal maintenance yard dating from the early 1800s.

In the cluster of buildings, many are Grade II*-listed, including a blacksmith's forge and joiner's shop, a dry dock, a yard manager's house and Beech House, once head offices of Ellesmere Canal Company. Visitors may revel in the fact they’re treading on the spot where engineer Thomas Telford worked while building this canal.

A little over 2 miles further westwards, the canal winds towards Frankton Junction where the Montgomery Canal branches off to the south. If you have time, take a walk down the locks near the junction and explore a small part of the Monty, as it is affectionately known. 

Once you have finished exploring, it’s time to turn round and wind your way back to Whitchurch Marina.  

Featured Boats

Featured Boats from Whitchurch Marina, Shropshire

Two to Five berth Boats

Alvechurch Grebe

Max: 4 People

Length: 47ft

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Alvechurch Heron

Max: 5 People

Length: 58ft

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Alvechurch Bunting

Max: 5 People

Length: 47ft

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Alvechurch Wren

Max: 4 People

Length: 47ft

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Viking Tyne

Max: 4 People

Length: 48ft

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Six to eight berth Boats

Alvechurch Duck

Max: 6 People

Length: 60ft

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Alvechurch Gull

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Lark

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft (63ft from Falkirk)

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Alvechurch Thrush

Max: 6 People

Length: 66ft

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Alvechurch Warbler

Max: 8 People

Length: 69ft

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Viking Derwent

Max: 6 People

Length: 60ft

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Viking Medway

Max: 6 People

Length: 57ft

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Viking Wye Class

Max: 8 People

Length: 68ft

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