Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Featuring the Bridgewater Canal, the first canal to be built in the modern waterways era, the Cheshire Ring was formulated after successful campaigns for the restoration of several key sections around the route and is one of the original cruising rings.
Commencing at Preston Brook Tunnel it follows the Bridgewater to Castlefield and takes in the Rochdale, Ashton, Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals before returning via the Trent & Mersey Canal.
From Preston Brook the Bridgewater Canal carves through notably flat landscape and for several miles runs almost parallel to the Manchester Ship Canal. Dunham Massey Hall has a 250-acre deer park and a working Elizabethan Mill; Castlefield Basin is a series of wharves for goods brought here by canal with the railways of a later era striding overhead.
A short section of Rochdale Canal lifts the route through the ‘Rochdale 9’ locks and completely refurbished surroundings that would be unrecognisable to boaters of only a generation ago, passing by Manchester’s vibrant nightlife and Chinese quarters and under the former Rodwell Tower, now renamed 111 Piccadilly. With the 2002 Commonwealth Games held in Manchester acting as a catalyst the transformation to the entire area has been dramatic; improved access and additional lighting are just some of the changes.
At Ducie Street Junction the Ashton Canal passes the modernised Piccadilly Village with the prospect of a few hours energetic lockwheeling to follow before Portland Basin. This was built to allow narrowboats to make the tight turn out of the Peak Forest Canal and is known locally as Weaver’s Rest due to the large number of weavers who drowned here during hard times in their industry. The basin is home to a museum and a boat trust dedicated to saving historic wooden vessels.
The Peak Forest Canal is lock-free until Marple where the locks are distinguished by little stone bridges in front of the bottom gates. At the top of the flight the Peak Forest continues to its terminus at the historic Buxworth Basin and Whaley Bridge; the fork to the right leads onto the Macclesfield Canal and increasingly rural scenery until the conurbations of Macclesfield and Congleton begin to encroach.
At Hardings Wood Junction the Trent & Mersey Canal drops towards the Cheshire Plain through a heavily locked section, which is perhaps unsurprisingly known as ‘Heartbreak Hill’. Many of the locks were duplicated in an effort to speed up traffic. A few hours of gentle cruising through open countryside leads to Anderton and its spectacular Boat Lift. Preston Brook Tunnel is narrow and requires caution; to its north lies the Bridgewater Canal.
Last date edited: 14 November 2016