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
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
The Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs between Middlewich, where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal, and Barbridge Junction, where it joins the main line of the Shropshire Union Canal.
We offer a comprehensive engineering service for narrowboats and cruisers covering breakdowns, routine servicing, engine, gas, plumbing and electrical repairs. Boat Safety Scheme examinations including...
Learn to handle a narrowboat safely and confidently! We offer training courses to suit all abilities, including the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate. If you are thinking of buying a boat, why...
We are Roving Traders travelling the inland waterways on our narrow-boat Islonian trading as Flavoursfloat.
Choose to take your canal boat holiday from a choice of nine holiday centres, from the Peak District to the Midlands, Cheshire, Cambridge, Oxford, Wiltshire, Scotland, Wales and London, each with their...
Two fabulous locations for your narrowboat holiday or canal barge break. Great prices, great escapes. Wonderful cruising opportunities.
It is 10 miles (16 km) long, and was planned as part of the Chester Canal, which was authorised in 1772, but the company ran out of money, and construction did not begin until 1827. The Trent and Mersey insisted that there should be no direct connection at Middlewich, and instead built the short Wardle Canal to join the two, charging large compensation tolls for traffic passing along it.
The canal became part of the Shropshire Union system in 1846, which was taken over by the London and North Western Railway within a year. Traffic on the branch was always limited by the compensation tolls, and it was not until 1888 that they were abolished. The canal was the location for trials with locomotive haulage of boats in 1888, using a narrow-gauge engine from Crewe railway works, but no further action was taken. The canal became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923. The railway company closed 175 miles (282 km) of canals in 1944, but the Shropshire Union main line and the Middlewich Branch were spared, and passed into the jurisdiction of the British Waterways Board following nationalisation in 1948.
The canal follows a delightful rural route through farmland across Cheshire, with a short urban section near the junction at Middlewich. Many of the structures are original, and consequently, most of them are grade II listed. There is no commercial traffic on the waterway, but transition to the leisure age has resulted in two marinas being constructed to provide moorings for pleasure craft.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.
More information about trailable and portable boat launching locations on the Middles Branch (Shropshire Union Canal).
We've put together some free family guides to the best days out on your doorstep. Find out which of our hidden gems are waiting to be discovered near you.
Download your free guide
North Wales & Borders waterways
Find out what's happening on this region's waterways