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.
This cross-country canal takes in the best of what the North Midlands has to offer, with stunning views over the Cheshire Plain.
30th March 2018 10:00am to 2nd April 2018 5:00pm
South of Haywood Lock
31st March 2018 9:30am to 2nd April 2018 3:30pm
Anderton Boat Lift
6th April 2018 10:00am to 6th April 2018 4:00pm
Middleport Park (Milvale Street entrance) Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 3NQ
7th April 2018 10:00am to 7th April 2018 4:00pm
11th April 2018 10:00am to 11th April 2018 4:00pm
2nd June 2018 10:00am to 3rd June 2018 5:00pm
Outside of Etruria Industrial Museum
15th June 2018 9:00am to 17th June 2018 7:00pm
14th July 2018 12:00am to 15th July 2018 11:59pm
14th Mar 2018 11:00am onwards
Due to high levels of rainfall the River section at Alrewas is in flood and the navigation is closed. .
12th Mar 2018 8:00am to 23rd Mar 2018 4:00pm
We will be replacing all three balance beams at Lock 13, as well as several of the large coping stones in the lock. The navigation and towpath will remain open during these works.
7th Dec 2016 12:00am onwards
The towpath underneath Bridge 38 is currently closed due to running water causing potential hazards. There is a small diversion in place which takes you over the bridge.
Marina with full boatyard facilities. Moorings, Chandlery inc. Searolf LED and Lockmaster windlass, Cafe, Dry Dock, wet dock, repairs, BSS examiner.
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...
Aqua Narrowboats Luxury Canal Boat Hire, Narrowboat Experience Days and Bespoke Boat Building Services.
Marina/boatyard with chandlery,cafe, moorings, dry dock DIY and serviced, workshop, All usual services available - coal, gas, diesel, pump out and elsan disposal.
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...
Roving canal trader serving fresh homemade filled Staffordshire Oatcakes out the Side hatch I have an awning built onto the Side of the Boat to help keep customers dry I have a 5" Food and Hygiene rating...
We are Roving Traders travelling the inland waterways on our narrow-boat Islonian trading as Flavoursfloat.
Boatfaeries are always busy on NB Sense of Freedom and have a selection of Arts and Handcrafted Gifts on a canal near you.
We sell a wide selection of interesting antique and collectible items with an emphasis on nautical, wooden and canal bygones. We always have a selection of Meashamware teapots available!
Fradley Junction is a hive of activity, with people walking, boating, enjoying nature, or taking a break in the café or pub. Fradley Junction is the spot where the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Coventry...
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...
Star Narrowboat Holidays, is an independent, narrowboat hire company owned and managed by Hester Cox at the Bridgewater Marina (also known as Boothstown Basin) we are independent of the marina and any...
Your Complete Guide to Northwich where the River Dane meets the River Weaver Navigation.
Two fabulous locations for your narrowboat holiday or canal barge break. Great prices, great escapes. Wonderful cruising opportunities.
Relax and unwind on a magical journey along the beautiful canals of Shropshire and Cheshire. When you hire a boat from Cheshire Cat Narrowboat Holidays you are assured of a warm welcome, and the first-class...
Situated in the heart of England, our base is the ideal starting point for a different type of holiday. Canal boating in the slow lane, an adventure, seeing England from a different view point. We have...
The River Weaver Navigation Society was founded in 1997 and is dedicated to preserving, protecting and improving the River Weaver, from Winsford to its confluence with the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Trent and Mersey Canal Society was founded in 1974 to promote the future well-being of the waterway and provide a focus for all who are interested in this time honoured old canal – navigators, naturalists,...
Railway bridge 119b to Bridge 119c Marconi
Trent & Mersey Canal South
Bridge 119c Marconi to Bridge 123 Newport Lane
Lock 1 Derwent Mouth to Bridge 28 excluding Weston Parish and areas where Canal & River Trust don't own the fishing rights
Bridge 86 Upper Burston to Bridge 87 Long Meadow
Bridge 62 to Bridge 68
Middlewich BranchBridge 163 Booth Lane to Bridge 167 (Lock 71)
Trent & Mersey Canal North
Bridge 58 Handacre to Bridge 62
Bridge 160 Moss Lane to Bridge 161 Crows Nest
Bridge 158A to Bridge 160 Moss Lane
Bridge 147 Hassall Green to Bridge 156 Durose
Lock 67 Booth Lane Top to Bridge 163 Booth Lane
Culvert 64a to Lock 25 Sandon Lock
Bridge 145/Pierpoint Top Lock to Bridge 147 Hassall Green
Lock 71 (Bridge 167 Middlewich Junction) to Preston Brook Tunnel
Lock 11 Wychnor to Lock 12 Alrewas
Lock 33 Meaford to Bridge 111 Winkles Works/Stoke Basin
Lock 26 Aston to Lock 33 Meaford
Bridge 79 Brinepit to culvert 64A
Lock 23 Hoo Mill Lock to Bridge 77 Pasturefields
Lock 12 Alrewas to Bridge 50 (Lock 16 Keepers)
Bridge 28 to Lock 11 Wychnor
Findern Crossing Pond (Between Bridge 22 and Bridge 22a)
Weston Parish (from 330 metres above Bridge 6 to a point 420m below Bridge 12)
Lawton Lock No 50 to Bridge 139 Cherry Lane
Harecastle Tunnel north portal to Lawton Lock no 50
Lock 25 Sandon Lock to Bridge 86 Upper Burston
Bridge 87 Long Meadow to Lock 26 Aston
Bridge 68 to Bridge 71 Colwich Lock Bridge
Bridge 161 Crows Nest to Lock 67 Booth Lane top lock
Bridge 156 Durose to Bridge 158A
Bridge 139 Cherry Lane to Bridge 145 Pierpoints
Bridge 123 Newport Lane to Harecastle Tunnel south portal
Bridge 111 Stoke Basin to Bridge 119b Railway Bridge
Bridge 77 Pasturefield to Bridge 79 Brinepit
Bridge 74 Mill Lane to Bridge 75 Middle
Bridge 52 (Lock 19 Shadehouse) to Woodend Turn (Culvert - Aqueduct 19)
The canal takes you through some of the best scenes that our waterways have to offer, from the towering Anderton Boat Lift through to the heritage-rich industrial sites of Stoke-on-Trent’s potteries district and the nature reserve at picturesque Fradley Junction.
The Trent & Mersey Canal, engineered by James Brindley, was the country’s first long-distance canal. It is full of interesting features, which reflect its history. These include Harecastle Tunnel, the lengthy lock flight known as ‘Heartbreak Hill’, and the traditional canal town of Shardlow.
The towpath creates a green corridor through Stoke-on-Trent, as well as offering a cycling and walking route through rural Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.
There's so much to see and do along the Trent & Mersey Canal from the magnificent Anderton Boat Lift through to the major waterway junction at Trent Lock. If you're planning a day out then check out our free family-friendly guides and make sure you get the best from your trip to the canal.
Find days out ideas along the Trent & Mersey Canal
The Cheshire Locks, the long flight of locks which drops the canal down from Stoke-on-Trent to the Cheshire Plain, have been mischievously renamed 'Heartbreak Hill' by generations of leisure boaters. This is because the locks are close enough for the lock crew to stay on the towpath, rather than getting back on board... but far enough apart to make serious inroads on your shoe leather. Think of it as a character-building experience.
Other boating attractions include the Anderton Boat Lift, the historic Dove Aqueduct, and miles upon miles of slowly winding waterway through the Potteries and the peaceful countryside.
Some of the leading aristocrats, gentry and industrialists of the area engaged James Brindley, then a little-known mill engineer, to survey a canal from the Mersey to the Trent, even before the Duke of Bridgewater embarked upon his pioneering canal. A later version of this scheme, then known as the Grand Trunk Canal, was approved by Parliament in 1766, on the same day as the canal joining it to the Severn. Brindley was the engineer of both canals.
Josiah Wedgwood was one of the main promoters of the Trent & Mersey Canal, and its branch the Caldon Canal. The waterways allowed fragile porcelain and china to be transported without breaking on bumpy roads; once the products had been delivered, the narrowboats could be filled with West Country china clay for their return trip. Potteries are still to be found along the Trent & Mersey and Caldon Canals in Stoke.
The canal runs for 93 miles from the Bridgewater Canal at Preston Brook to Shardlow and the Trent Navigation. The part south of Harecastle Tunnel was completed first. Harecastle Tunnel took eleven years to build, and by the time it and the northern section of the canal were opened, Brindley had been dead for five years.
Major offshoots include the Wardle Branch, now usually regarded as part of the Shropshire Union’s Middlewich Branch, the Hall Green Branch, similarly now generally considered to be part of the Macclesfield Canal, and the Caldon, which has since earned the title of a canal in its own right. It also connects via the restored Anderton Boat Lift to the Weaver Navigation, and with the Staffordshire & Worcestershire and the Coventry Canals. The derelict Derby & Sandiacre Canal that connected at Swarkestone is under restoration, but the former Bond End Canal at Shobnall, Burton-on-Trent, is largely lost.
The canal is broad between Shardlow and Burton-on-Trent because this part was used by barges coming off the Trent. The rest of the canal was narrow, but the section from Anderton to Middlewich was widened in the 1890s to accommodate broad boats from the Weaver. (Hence the ‘Big Lock’ at Middlewich.)
The canal led directly to the development of the area subsequently known as the Potteries. It was also a major factor in the development of Burton-on-Trent as the country’s brewing capital.
Traffic was heavy and freight movement was still considerable into the 1950s, with cargoes including coal, salt, beer and, of course, pottery. Nowadays the canal is an essential element in both the Cheshire and the Four Counties cruising rings.
Manchester, Pennine & Potteries Waterways
For all the latest news and events visit our Manchester, Pennine & Potteries page