See historic towns
Kennet Avon Canal
Take a canal boat
Take canal locks
up and down hills
Stop at peaceful
pubs and villages
Four Counties Ring
Base 16 is south of Manchester and north east of historic Chester. It is run by one of the best boat operators in the UK, with a friendly, professional service.
This strategically sited base on the Trent & Mersey canal near Northwich in Cheshire is an excellent starting point for your canal cruises, and is on the Chshire Ring. For the newcomer to canals Chester or Ellesmere Port and return is a good cruise option.
Short breaks can take you towards Manchester, or south to Middlewich and beyond. One week takes you to Chester or the Cheshire Ring itself.
Lymm and return: 2 locks 18 hours
Cruise above the picturesque River Weaver and its valley. The only lock has a drop of 6 inches! This route includes Preston Brook tunnel, nearly a mile long, and two shorter tunnels.
Beeston or Nantwich and return: 16 locks 20 hours
Easy cruising south from Base 16 with superb scenery and good pubs. Medieval Nantwich is about a mile from the canal.
River Weaver via Anderton Boat Lift and back: 10 locks 10 hours
Re-opened in 2002 the Anderton Boat Lift carries two boats at a time hydraulically, one up and one down. The River Weaver is at the centre of the Cheshire salt making area, and has excellent wildlife in beautiful scenery.
Chester and back: 44 locks 32 hours
Ellesmere Port and back: 52 locks 40 hours
From the base to Middlewich the cruising is easy and lock free and you enjoy your first experience of the delightful countryside that is a characteristic of this cruise. Notice the scars on the church tower at Middlewich, made by the musket balls of the Roundheads and Cavaliers during the Civil War. Turning right into the Wardle cut, for much of the way you run along a hill side and through a few well spaced locks to Barbridge junction and then join the Shropshire Union canal. Here you commence the drop down to Chester and on arrival there are moorings right beneath the city walls. Don't miss a walk along the city wall and through its narrow medieval streets of this World Heritage site. A few more locks allow you to continue to Ellesmere Port with a possible intermediate stop for a walk to the popular Chester Zoo. Visit the celebrated Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port where the canal joins the very much larger Manchester Ship canal. This really is a splendid introduction to canal cruising.
Cheshire Ring: 92 locks 49 hours
An enchanting run along the hillside over looking the River Weaver, brings you to a lock with just a six inch fall and then you are on the Bridgewater canal which is wide, deep and lock free for the long run to Manchester. A mooring at Castlefields will allow you to explore the City with its tram system. Don't miss a visit to the huge Arndale Centre or the even closer Science and Industry Museum. You now steadily climb the Ashton canal and begin to leave Manchester behind you reaching your highest point at Marple. Commence a long lock free run past Macclesfield before the descent to join the Trent & Mersey canal. From this junction to Middlewich many of the locks are paired which gives some indication of the intensity of the now long gone commercial traffic between the potteries and the ports.
Four Counties Ring: 102 locks 65 hours
Cruise to Middlewich and join the Four Counties Ring.
Please note that we have been advised that there is damage to the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, so it is not possible to access the Four Counties Ring from the North West, or access the Llangollen Canal at present.