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 25 is near Stoke-on-Trent and is easily accessible by rail or road, as well as being close to Birmingham and Manchester Airports. It is run by one of the UK's leading canal boat operators.
One of the area's most popular starting points, Base 25 leads to some of the most interesting scenery on Britain's waterways. There are a variety of routes available from this base, with the Four Counties Ring the most popular. The base is a short cruise to the 2700 yard long Harecastle Tunnel, one of the waterway wonders.
Short breaks, one week and longer routes are available from this base.
These follow sections of the Four Counties Ring south towards Stone and Great Haywood or north to Kidsgrove, perhaps onto the Macclesfield Canal. The lower section of the Caldon Canal is another option
Caldon and Leek Canals: 41 miles 34 locks 18 hours
An easy week down one of the most beautiful and quiet canals of them all. You encounter progressively more picturesque countryside as you enter the Churnet Valley. The Leek branch contains no locks from the junction, whereas the Froghall branch descends to the River Churnet. Alton Towers Theme Park is a short bus ride from the end of the Caldon Canal.
Four Counties Ring: 110 miles 92 locks 54 hours
Travel onto the Trent and Mersey Canal, southwards through the canal town of Stone to Great Haywood. where you meet the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Travelling westwards you join the Shropshire Union at Autherley. The 'Shroppie' with its impressive architecture, banks and cuttings, carries you northwards to the Middlewich Arm. At Middlewich you rejoin the Trent and Mersey which carries you back to the base through a number of locks and the Harecastle Tunnel.
Cheshire Ring: 108 miles 92 locks 54 hours
A more energetic route. Travel on to the Trent and Mersey Canal, northwards through the Harecastle Tunnel and join the Macclesfield via a fly-over. This is a lovely canal through Congleton, Macclesfield and Marple to Manchester. A lock-free section of the Bridgewater Canal follows until Middlewich, passing the restored Anderton Lift. A more heavily locked section takes you back to the base.
Two week routes
East Midlands Ring: 219 miles 147 locks 90 hours
South from the junction with Trent and Mersey Canal, through Stone and Great Haywood to Fradley Junction, where you turn towards Burton-on-Trent and the canalised River Soar to Leicester. After Leicester you encounter the famous Foxton flight and pass through undulating countryside to Norton and Braunston Junctions. Turning northwards towards Rugby and Coventry, the canal takes a more direct route with cuttings and embankments to Fazeley and Fradley and home. Most of this route is very rural and quiet.
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 do the full Four Counties Ring at present.