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 28 is near Stafford and is run by a large boat operator with high standards of service. It is easily accessible by road or rail.
The base is well placed to discover parts of rural Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. On the Staffs and Worcs Canal travel north to the Potteries and the Peak District or perhaps cover the full Four Counties Ring. Or travel south to the restored city centre canal basin at Birmingham.
Short breaks, one week and longer routes are available from this base.
Norbury and Return: 4 locks 12 hours
The most leisurely of the available routes takes you down the Staffs and Worcs Canal to Autherley Junction, where you can join the Shropshire Union Canal for a relaxing run up northwards to Norbury. Here you you will need to turn in order to return to the base.
Market Drayton and Return: 14 locks 18 hours
If you are taking a four-day break, then you could continue from Norbury up to Market Drayton before you turn round.
Great Haywood Junction and Return: 22 locks 12 hours
Cruise up the Staffs and Worcs Canal to Great Haywood Junction, enabling you to visit Shugborough Hall.
Stone and Return 4 days
Travel on up the Trent and Mersey Canal to the canal town of Stone, enjoying panoramic views of rural Staffordshire as you go.
Shropshire Union Canal:
40 miles 62 locks 40 hours
Leaving the base, you head south down the Staffs and Worcs Canal to Autherley Junction, where you turn right and join the start of the Shropshire Union Canal (Shroppie). You soon get to appreciate the contrast between the earlier 'contour' canal that you have just left and the gem that is the 'Shroppie'. Your journey northwards towards the Cheshire Plains through rural Shropshire countryside, takes in impressively deep cuttings, dramatic embankments and splendid architecture. Market Drayton, Audlem and Nantwich are all delightful places to visit along the way, either on the way out or on the return leg of your journey. Finally though, you need turn around and head back to the base, retracing your steps and enjoying the different perspective that cruising in this new direction brings.
Four Counties Ring:
110 miles 94 Locks 54 hours
This journey takes you up the wonderfully rural Staffs and Worcs Canal to Great Haywood Junction where, passing under a roving bridge, you join the Trent and Mersey Canal heading north towards the potteries and Peak district. The rolling Staffordshire countryside leads you to Stoke on Trent, the Wedgwood Pottery's Visitors Centre and the impressive 2926 yard long Harecastle Tunnel. Beyond Harecastle the 13 miles to the salt town of Middlewich sees the canal descend 31 locks to the Cheshire Plains. The short Middlewich arm links the Trent and Mersey Canal to the Shropshire Union Canal which brings you south again through more glorious countryside. This beautifully engineered canal with its cuttings and embankments and relatively few locks, takes an almost direct route to Autherley Junction where it meets the Staffs and Worcs Canal for the last leg back to the base.
Stourport and Return:
58 locks 36 hours
This is a comfortable one week cruise to Stourport and back, along what is almost certainly one of England's prettiest waterways. Throughout its length, this historic canal follows the local land contours as it winds its way south towards its junction with the River Severn at the unique inland port of Stourport. Along the way you pass the entrance to the Shropshire Union Canal, which heads northwards through Shropshire towards the Cheshire plains. As you continue south, you soon reach Bratch locks, which is a distinctive and unusual flight of three locks, together with an octagonal toll office. From here the canal adopts an even more rural aspect: secluded woodlands with rocky cliffs of red sandstone, give way to an area of quite water meadows as you approach the outskirts of the carpet-manufacturing town of Kidderminster. Kidderminster also hosts the southern terminus of the Severn Valley Steam Railway, which is well worth a half-day trip. Finally you reach Stourport with its intriguing combination of engineering features and fine period buildings.
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.