Guide to the Cheshire Ring
Please be aware that from 24th June 2022 onwards, passage through the Bosley Locks (Macclesfield Canal) and the Marple Locks (Peak Forest Canal) will be closed. The stoppage means that it will not be possible to complete the Cheshire Ring until further notice.
Travelling through five counties, the Cheshire Ring contrasts the highest waterways in England on the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals with the cityscape of Manchester and its historic canal engineering.
Distance, Time, and Locks
97 miles, about 55 hours cruising, 93 locks
Usually covered in a week, the Ring includes some energetic sections. Out-and-back trips and short breaks are available from all bases. A licence (about £30) is required for a section through central Manchester.
Cruising the Cheshire Ring
From our bases in the Middlewich area pass the Anderton Boat Lift, cruise along the hillside above the River Weaver and onto the Bridgewater canal. The first British canal, it is wide, deep and lock-free for the run to Manchester.
A mooring at Castlefields will allow you to explore the city, its shops, museums and art galleries.
The following canalside environment under and through inner-city Manchester is not to everyone's taste, and is often tackled early in the day.
Leave Manchester behind, climbing the Ashton canal to its highest point at Marple with its picturesque flight of locks and character cottages.
Join the Macclesfield Canal for a scenic 26 mile lock-free section skirting the edge of the Peak District through small stone built towns.
The 12 Bosley locks then lower the canal 118 feet to the Cheshire Plains.
In the distance can be seen the half-timbered Little Moreton Hall before the canal joins the Trent and Mersey Canal at Kidsgrove. Travel down the locks of 'Heartbreak Hill' to reach Middlewich and its old salt mines.