Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
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Waterways of Cheshire

Navigable Rivers and Canals within Cheshire

Beeston Stone Lock on the Shropshire Union Canal Main Line

Ashton, Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A collection of canals in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire.

Waterway Description:

These three canals have been, for many years, considered as one navigation. In the Great Central Railway days it was known as the "A.P.M.". They are now part of the Cheshire Ring.

History:

See Individual canals for more details. In 1961 the last passage was made through the Ashton and Lower Peak Forrest Canals prior to their restoration in 1974.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A canal that runs from the West Midlands through Shopshire and Cheshire

Waterway Description:

A 39.5 mile and 26 lock canal linking the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal at Autherley to the Ellesmere & Chester Canal at Nantwich. Now part of the Shropshire Union Main Line.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1826, completed in 1835.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Bridgewater Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From the River Bollin Aqueduct, where it enters Cheshire from Greater Manchester, to its end at Waterloo Bridge in Runcorn the Bridgewater Canal runs over 17 miles through Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the junction with the Rochdale Canal in Manchester to Runcorn. The Stretford and Leigh Branch runs ten and three-quarter miles to the junction with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

History:

Authorised under Acts of 1737, 1759, 1760, 1762, 1766 and 1795. The "first canal of the canal age" was promoted by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, and built under the direction of John Gilbert. James Bindley worked under Gilbert's direction

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Chester Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A canal entirely within Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

A 19.5 mile, 17 lock, broad canal from the River Dee to Nantwich. Now part of the Shropshire Union Main Line.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1772, opened in 1775 to Beeston and in 1779 to Nantwich.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Commercial Canal project

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A proposed barge canal from Cheshire to Staffordshire.

Waterway Description:

A proposed barge canal from The Chester Canal at Nantwich to the Trent & Mersey Canal at Burton on Trent.

History:

Promoted in 1795 and 1796 but not authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Ellesmere & Chester Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A canal that runs through Shropshire and Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

Formed by the merging of the Ellesmere Canal Company and the Chester Canal Company.

History:

Formed in 1813 and taken over by the Shropshire Union in 1846.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Ellesmere Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The sections that were built are now in Denbighshire, Wrexham, Shropshire and Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

A canal that was never wholly completed the two major sections now being part of the Shropshire Union Canal.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793, the Chester to Ellesmere Port section completed in 1795, and the navigable feeder from Trevor to the Dee at Llantisilo completed what is now the Llangollen Canal in 1808.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Hall Green Branch - Trent and Mersey Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The branch is entirely within Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

A 1.5 mile branch linking the Trent and Mersey Main Line to the Macclesfield Canal

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Macclesfield Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From a point between the Aqueduct over railway and Bullock's Girder Bridge No 13, where it crosses out of Greater Manchester to Hall Green Stop Lock No 13, where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal Hall Green Branch, the canal is in Cheshire for over 23 miles.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Marple Junction with the Peak Forrest Canal to Hall Green, on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1826. Opened in 1831.

Points of Interest:

It runs on a high contour, the summit at 521 feet, and has fine views.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Manchester & Dee Ship Canal project

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A proposal for a ship canal from Greater Manchester into Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a ship canal from the Dee estuary to Manchester.

History:

Surveyed in 1823 and 1824, a Bill was introduced and rejected in 1825. Variations to the plans were made in 1825, 1826, 1828 and 1837 but the canal was never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Manchester Ship Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From the entrance from the River Mersey at Eastham Locks to the Rixton Junction the canal runs 24 miles within Cheshire before crossing into Greater Manchester.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Eastham Locks (some 6 miles up the Mersey from Liverpool) to Woden Street Bridge, Manchester.

History:

Promoted by the Manchester Ship Canal Act of 1885. Construction started in November 1887 and the canal was opened on 1 January 1894.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Mersey & Irwell Navigation

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

A waterway that ran from Cheshire to Greater Manchester.

Waterway Description:

Was a 20.25 mile, 8 locks, river navigation from Bank Quay, Warrington, to Quay Street, Manchester.

History:

Authorised by an Act of June 1721, work started in 1724, opened in 1736. By 1894 most of the navigation had been replaced by the Manchester Ship Canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Peak Forest Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From just past Turflea Lift Bridge No 22 at Strines Aqueduct, where the canal crosses from Greater Manchester, to just before Thornsett Road bridge No 28, where it crosses into Derbyshire, the canal is in Cheshire for about 2 miles.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the junction with the Ashton Canal at Dukinfield to Buxworth Basin.

History:

Promoted under Acts of 1794, 1800 and 1805. Opened with a connecting tramroad at Marple in 1800. Marple Locks were opened in 1804.

Points of Interest:

Very fine stone navigation works.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Preston Brook Branch (Bridgewater Canal)

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

This short branch connecting the Trent & Mersey Canal to the main line of the Bridgeewater Canal is wholly within Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

A short branch of the Bridgewater Canal that links the main line with the Trent & Mersey Canal at the start of Preston Brook Tunnel.

History:

Built under the Bridgewater Canal Act of 1762 but completed in about 1773.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Dee

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From the upper limit of navigation at Almere Ferry to a point between the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and Saltney Bridge, where the river crosses into Flintshire, the river runs through Cheshire for 14½ miles.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Almere Ferry to Point of Air, 33 miles in total. Tidal below Chester weir.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1734, 1744 and 1791.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Mersey

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The river forms the boundary between Lanchasire and Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

This tidal navigation runs 43 miles from Bank Quay, Warrington, to the Mersey Bar Light Vessel.

History:

Act of Parliament of 1805 enabled the collection of tolls.

Points of Interest:

The river below Garston is only suitable for sea-going vessels.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Weaver

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The entire navigation is in Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

This river runs 20 miles from Winsford Bridge to Weston Point Docks, where it joins the Manchester Ship Canal

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1721, 1760, 1807, 1825 and 1829. Work started in 1730, opened in the beginning of 1732, having 11 wooden locks.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Weaver - Old Navigation Line

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The entire navigation is in Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 2.25 miles from the head of Frodsham Cut to Weston Marsh, where it joins the Manchester Ship Canal

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Shropshire Union - Llangollen Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From the start of the canal at Hurleston Junction, where it connects with the Shropshire Union main line, to just after Povey's Lock No 13, where it crosses into Shropshire, the canal is in Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 46 miles from Llantysilio Bridge, near Llangollen, to Hurleston Junction, where it joins the Shropshire Union main line

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1793 and 1796.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Shropshire Union - Middlewich Branch

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The whole navigation is within Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 10 miles from Barbridge Junction, where it joins the Shropshire Union Main Line, to Wardle Lock, Middlewich, where it joins the Trent & Mersey Canal

History:

Promoted By Act of 1827. The last 20 yards of the canal, including Wardle Lock, was once part of the Trent & Mersey, known as the Wardle Lock Branch, or Wardle Canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Shropshire Union Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The colective name for a large network of waterways mainly in Shropshire and Cheshire but also reaching many other counties. See the individual waterways for more details.

Waterway Description:

This canal includes the main Line, the Llangollen (or Welsh) Canal, the Middlewich Branch and the Montgomery Canal.

History:

See separate canals for the various historys.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Shropshire Union Dee Branch

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

The whole branch is within Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

This branch runs one furlong from the Shropshire Union Main Line to the River Dee

History:

Authorised by the Chester Canal Act of 1 April 1772.

Points of Interest:

Notice is required to navigate on to the Dee, which is only possible at high tide.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Shropshire Union Main Line

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

From just before Audlem Top Lock No 13. where the canal crosses into Cheshire from Shropshire, to the end of the canak at Ellesmere Port Docks and the junction with Manchester Ship Canal, the canal is in Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 66.5 miles from Autherley Junction, where it joins the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, to Ellesmere Port where it joins the Manchester Ship Canal.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1772, 1793 and 1826. The original canal companies were formed into The Shropshire Union in 1846.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Sir John Glynne's Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

An abandoned Cheshire canal.

Waterway Description:

A local canal of about a mile from Bretton to Saltney, just outside Chester.

History:

Built about 1768 and in use until 1779.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Waterway's place in Cheshire :

At a point near Red Bull Lock No 42 and the Poole Aqueduct,the canal enters Cheshire from Staffordshire and runs 29 miles through Cheshire to Preston Brook where it meets the Bridgewater Canal.

Waterway Description:

Runs 93 miles from Derwent Mouth, where it joins the River Trent, to Preston Brook, where it joins a branch of the Bridgewater Canal

History:

Originally known as the Grand Trunk Canal. Promoted by Acts of 1766, 1770, 1775, 1776, 1783, 1797 (two Acts), 1802, 1809 and 1827

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to Cheshire Waterways

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List