Trent & Mersey, Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Ashton, Rochdale, Bridgewater Canals.
(125 miles & 110 locks on circular route.
The Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals offer a very attractive 2 weeks holiday, which could be turned into a circular route by travelling on the Ashton and Rochdale Canals to return via the Bridgewater Canal. However, impressive the industrial heritage of Manchester may be, you may find that the beautiful moorland scenery of the Macclesfield Canal will persuade you to return by the same route.
The Macclesfield Canal leaves the Trent & Mersey Canal at Kidsgrove (Stoke on Trent), and apart from a small ‘stop lock’ has only one flight of 12 easy locks at Bosley. It continues on one level then all the way to Marple and Whaley Bridge on the Peak Forest Canal.
Between Kidsgrove and Congleton Little Morton Hall is worth a visit.
Macclesfield is a large silk manufacturing town on the edge of the Peak District National Park. At Marple the upper Peak Forest Canal carries you through mountainous scenery to New Mills, Whaley Bridge and the vast Buxworth limestone loading basins.
If continuing round the ‘Cheshire Ring’ the lower Peak Forest Canal drops you down through 16 very deep locks at Marple, to pass over the very impressive Marple Aqueduct and through a couple of tunnels, to reach Dukinfield, junction with the Ashton and Huddersfield Narrow Canals (now fully restored).
Passing through the Ashton and 1½ miles of Rochdale Canal (fully restored into Yorkshire during summer 2002) you arrive at Castlefields (Manchester), junction of Rochdale and Bridgewater canals. This is an excellent safe mooring to visit the city centre and explore the excellent industrial museums and Granada TV studios. After a well earned rest on the lock free Bridgewater canal you return to Beeston via the Trent & Mersey and Middlewich Branch canals.
Cruising times from Beeston: