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Acton Bridge: Canals of North West England

Boats Available:

Duchess 4
Duchess 6
Duchess 8
Princess 2
Princess 4
Princess 6
Shakespeare 4

 

 

Based near Northwich, Acton Bridge is a good starting point for a number of routes. Traveling north, you meet the canal where it all started - the Bridgewater canal, which takes you lock free to Manchester. From there you can travel to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, or continue on the Cheshire Ring via the Peak Forest and Macclesfield. Apart from Manchester itself, currently being cleaned up, this is a beautiful route with constantly changing scenery. South of base you can travel the Four Counties Ring, or meander up to Chester and beyond to the Ellesmere Port boat museum.

Click here for Base Information

Suggested Routes From Acton Bridge
Route A  |  Route B  |  Route C  |  Route D


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1. WIGAN & RETURN - ROUTE A
84 Miles  |  6 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  5 hours per day

This one week canal boat holiday from Cheshire, in Northwich, to Wigan provides a very pleasant and easy run, featuring many miles of lock free cruising for a relaxing break.

Leaving the base you travel on the Bridgewater Canal, which was the first British canal built by the Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal to Manchester. The canal that once carried millions of tonnes of traffic is now part one of the most popular boat cruising canals in England. You’ll see mine entrances and the amazing Barton Swing Bridge, which is swung open to let large ships through. The bridge is engineering marvel, built 38 feet above the water in 1761 which, at the time, made it the largest aqueduct in England.

Once arriving in Wigan, there are lots of attractions to experience. The Wigan Pier is situated just a few hundred yards from the city centre and is popular with tourists. The area is currently undergoing development of a “Wigan Pier Quarter” that will combine entertainment and retail with more traditional symbols of the town.

Whilst at the Pier you can visit The Orwell, a converted Victorian cotton warehouse originally built in 1877. The warehouse has retained many of its original features and now contains a bar and restaurant where you can relax after seeing the sites. You can also visit the Trencherfield Mill Steam Engine (one of the world’s largest), with sessions available on Sundays where you can listen to engineers talk about the history of this brilliant feat of industrial engineering. The engine, which once churned out a massive 2,500 horsepower to transport goods to and from Trencherfield Mill during the height of Wigan’s industrial development, now sits on display and has been perfectly restored.


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2. CHESTER & RETURN - ROUTE B
84 Miles  |  44 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  6 hours per day

At a manageable six hours per day on a one week cruise, the Cheshire to Chester canal boat holiday combines relaxation and activity, with the opportunity to see a lovely canals and countryside. First, travel southwards on the Trent & Mersey Canal passing the Anderson Lift and heading south towards Middlewich. You’ll be cruising through traditional English countryside, with farmers fields and and woodland dotted along your route.

Trent & Mersey Canal Anderton Lift Historically, Middlewich was famed for its salt production, silk, Cheshire cheese and agriculture. It now features a wealth of attractions including festivals, farmers’ markets and of course, canals, with three passing through the town. The town centre is within a stone’s through of the canal, so if you need to stock up on supplies or just fancy a quick pint, then it’s easy to moor up and walk in. Middlewich You will then turn onto the Middlewich arm to join up with the Shropshire Union Canal. This area of the Middlewich Arm is only ten miles long and was constructed in 1833. There are several restaurants and pubs in the area, including the canal-boat themed Kings Lock Pub. After grabbing a bite to eat you can continue onwards on the Shropshire Union Canal, the final civic work of the famed engineer, Thomas Telford.

You will soon reach the medieval city of Chester, which offers a host of enjoyable activities, historical sights and pleasant views. The canal is built next to the old city walls, which show delightful sandstone cuttings. Chester Chester is steeped in history and a fascinating place to visit – both for sight-seeing and for a spot of retail therapy. It was one of the last towns to fall to the Norman Conquest, and dates back to the year 79, when it was established as a Roman fort. The city has some of the best-preserved Grade I listed walls in the UK, a gothic design Town Hall and a Norman cathedral. If you are looking for contemporary activities, it also contains plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and cinemas.

Finally, you should have time to visit the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port. The museum is located on the banks of the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal and brings together historic boats and archives that will teach you all about the history of British canals and waterways.


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3. CHESHIRE RING - ROUTE C
98 Miles  |  92 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  9 hours per day

The Cheshire Ring canal boat hire from the Black Prince Holidays Cheshire hire base in Cheshire is an active week long narrowboat cruise of around eight hours per day. After leaving our base, you will cruise northwards over the Bridgewater Canal, originally built to transport coal to Manchester on the command of the Duke of Bridgewater. It once carried three million tonnes of traffic as a vital part of industrial England, but in the last 35 years has primarily existed as a leisure waterway.

You will travel lock-free to Manchester, where the canals are currently undergoing improvement work. Manchester itself offers a mixture of historical landmarks, from the old cotton mills near the city centre to the Manchester Town Hall, one of the most prominent Victorian buildings in the country. The city is also surrounded by six local nature reserves. As well as cultural areas of interest, Manchester is the ideal location to spend an afternoon and evening, with a plethora of places to shop, eat, drink and relax as well as a range of activities for all of the family.

After spending some time in Manchester, you cruise into the Peak District on the Macclesfield Canal, with its pretty stone villages including Bollington, Adlington and Higher Poynton. Bollington is known locally as The Happy Valley, and its most famous landmark is the White Nancy, built in 1817 to commemorate the battle of Waterloo. Adlington is a small village, which boasts Adlington Hall, a country house originally constructed in the 13th century.

Just north of The Peak District, you meet the Trent & Mersey Canal before travelling through the many locks to Middlewich. Middlewich, once famous for its salt, Cheshire cheese and silk production, is now best known for its canals, with three passing through the town. In recent years it has also seen an increase in tourism, with the town hosting an annual Folk and Boat festival, Roman and Norman festivals, and a host of farmer’s markets.


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4. FOUR COUNTIES RING - ROUTE D
141 Miles  |  102 Locks  |   2 Week Cruise  |  5 hours per day

The Four Counties Ring from our Cheshire Acton Bridge Hire Base takes cruisers through Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, and is relaxing fortnight. First you pass through the red-watered Harecastle Tunnel (the result of local iron workings). This tunnel is also the fourth longest navigable canal tunnel in the United Kingdom. You will then pass the Wedgwood Factory, where you can take in a factory tour or walk around the museum of the famous pottery company founded in the 18th century.

You will pass through the canal town of Stone, where you can visit Aston Marina, a new leisure development containing everything required for the modern boater, including shops, a butchery, deli and a waterside bistro serving local produce. Once you’ve stocked up, you’ll pass through Great Haywood before joining the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Just north of Wolverhampton, you meet the Shropshire Union Canal with its extravagant cuttings and embankments, carrying you up to Barbridge and the Middlewich arm.

Barbridge is steeped in history. As part of a small hamlet, it was famously mentioned in the Itinerary of the famous historian John Leland. Occupied by royalist forces during the civil war before being populated by Quakers in the 18th century, Barbridge is a beautiful and historical rural parish. Middlewich is most famous for its canal network, with three canals passing through the town. It was once also renowned for its salt production. If you intend to spend some time in the town, you should try to tie-in your visit with one of its farmer’s markers.

If time permits a diversion along the Caldon is well worthwhile. The Caldon canal was originally built in 1776 to carry limestone to Stoke on Trent. It is considered one of the most interesting waterways in the United Kingdom because of its contrasts. It begins in the very centre of the Potteries (the towns surrounding Stoke on Trent) but also features a passage through a wealth of remote countryside. Caldon is a canal to stop and take in the lovely scenery.

 
Acton Bridge Base Information

Hotels / Guest Houses

Holly Bush Inn, Warrington, Little leigh, Northwich. Chesire, CW8 4QY
Telephone: 01606 853196
www.thehollybush.net
Price Guide: Double room £48.50  /  Single room £43.50 / Full English Breakfast £6.50
This inn was built in 1641

Happy Guests Lodge, Tarporley Road, Dutton, Chesire, WA4 4EZ
Telephone: 01928 790824
www.happyguestslodge.co.uk/
Price Guide: Double room £49.95 /  Single room £44.95 - Rates includes breakfast and free WiFi


Public Transport
Nearest Railway Station: Acton Bridge / Hartford
National Rail Enquiries:
www.nationalrail.co.uk Tel: 08457 484950
www.thetrainline.com Tel: 0871 244 1545

Nearest Airport:
Manchester International Tel. 0161 489 3000
www.manchesterairport.co.uk
 

Taxi / Minicabs
A1 Luxury Travel: Telephone. 01606 755000
Twinz Travel: Telephone. 01606 786888

Example Prices:
A taxi from Manchester Piccadilly station to the base at Acton Bridge would be approx. £40
A taxi from Manchester International Airport to the base at Acton Bridge would be approx. £30
 

Car Hire
Hertz Car Hire have depots throughout the UK including main airports. We have an exclusive agreement with Hertz who will provide reduced rates for all Black Prince customers. Drop-offs, collections and one ways are all available, allowing you to pick up a car at your arrival point and request a car to be waiting at the end of your holiday for onward travel. To book your car visit www.hertz.co.uk or call 0870 844 4844 and quote CDP 694816.
Flying into London
From Heathrow Airport - get the London underground tube train to Euston station.
From Gatwick Airport - get the Gatwick Express to London Victoria station, then get a London underground tube train to Euston station.
From Stanstead Airport - get the London underground tube train to Euston station.
From Euston - get a train to Crewe or Runcorn then change for Hartford.

Visit www.tfl.gov.uk to plan your route on the London Underground.

Flying into Manchester
Get a train to Manchester Picadilly station, then a train to Liverpool Lime Street, then change for Acton Bridge.


How To Find Us (By Car)
Acton Bridge is situated beside the A49 (Warrington to Whitchurch road). This is 4 miles south of Junction 10 on the M56 and 300 yards north of the swing bridge crossing the River Weaver.
www.theaa.com/route-planner

Groceries
Good shopping and a petrol filling station are within easy travelling distance. The Leigh Arms is next to the swing bridge and offers lunches and evening meals.

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