Departing south from our base, you’ll pass through the Preston Brook Tunnel where the canal emerges on a hillside overlooking the valley of the River Weaver.
At Acton bridge there are pubs. After passing through further wooded areas the canal reaches the tunnels at Saltersford and Barnton with a beautiful pool between them that overlooks Saltersford locks on the river Weaver.
At Anderton the boat lift carries boats from the Weaver up 50ft to the canal level. There are nice overnight moorings, a local pub serving meals and a local shop. Just past Anderton marina there is a water & rubbish disposal point.
A passage on the Anderton boat lift is arranged at the visitor center where the next available transit will be advised and the booking made. Transit through the lift is an unforgettable experience. It’s all controlled by BW staff and there are no charges for your trip. Now on the river Weaver one can turn up or downstream always remembering that there is a current on the river so that control of the boat, mooring and setting off are important techniques to master. There are visitor moorings to the left of the lift.
Upstream, the river reaches Northwich after about 2.5 miles where there are visitor moorings. The town has all facilities with the shops only 200 yards from the moorings. Continuing upstream, Hunts Lock is reached about a mile further on. All the locks on the Weaver are keeper operated and usually the smaller lock is used.
The river now heads south passing under road and rail bridges to reach Vale Royal locks. Above the locks is Vale Royal cut considered to be the most attractive stretch on the river. Upstream is Newbridge swing bridge and a further 2.5 miles takes us to Winsford. Winsford bridge marks the limit of navigation for the hire fleet. Beyond is the bottom flash but it is very shallow and boats are easily stuck. The river at Winsford presents no problems with turning but be aware that the current can take you downstream as you turn so give yourself plenty of room.
Heading downstream past the lift, the river and navigation separate. Side channels lead to weirs and we take the Barnton cut which swings north reaching Saltersford locks in about 2 miles. In the next few miles the river brings us to Acton Bridge and then Dutton locks. Four miles further on the river passes over Sutton Weir and the navigation enters the Weston canal where the banks are lined with chemical works and industry and the cut terminates in about 4 miles.
The total distance is 52¾ miles 12 locks (turn round at the entrance of the Weston canal) with an estimated cruising time of about 22 hours. This is just possible on a mid-week short break if the passage through the Anderton boat lift is pre-booked in both directions but timing allowances for delays at the locks need to be considered.
A week allows for a more relaxing trip and allows you to enjoy the Trent & Mersey Canal down to Middlewich after visiting the River Weaver.