Marine Cruises narrow boat holiday hire on the Macclesfield Canal

Narrow Boat Holiday Hire on the Macclesfield Canal


macclesfieldThe Macclesfield Canal leaves the Trent and Mersey canal just north of Harecastle tunnel and travels 28 miles up 13 locks to a junction with the Peak Forest Canal at Marple. You can turn up the Peak Forest Canal as it clings to the Goyt Valley for the 6 miles and explore Whaley Bridge, a small town nestling in the green Goyt Valley known as ‘the gateway to the Peak District’. Also well worth a very short detour is the newly reopened Bugsworth basin, once one of the largest and busiest inland ports on the narrow canals, an unique interchange where limestone and gritstone arriving down tramways from Derbyshire quarries was transshipped to narrowboats. Or you can branch left at Marple towards Manchester, and if you are feeling more energetic return to base via the Cheshire Ring. If you are coming from our Swanley base you will need to take two weeks to explore the area.


The Macclesfield Canal climbs through some tremendous Pennine scenery, interesting stone built towns such as Macclesfield with its famous Silk Museum (it once was a centre of the silk trade) and Bollington and Congleton. It reaches high into the foothills of the Pennines with wonderful views across the Cheshire plains and into the Peak District. You can even look down on aircraft landing at Manchester Airport in the far distance. It never gets too busy with plenty of places to moor, and the locks are easy to work. For walkers, the towpath is in very good condition and for the very energetic a walk up Mow Cop hill will certainly stretch the muscles.

The Macclesfield Canal was built fairly late in ‘The Canal age’ as a more direct connection from Manchester to the Midlands, and this shows in the high embankments, viaducts, straight lengths and most of the locks in the single flight of eleven locks at Bosley, beautifully set against a dramatic backcloth of hills.

The Macclesfield canal forms part of the popular Cheshire Ring cruising route, with the Peak Forest Canal and Ashton Canal to Manchester, The Bridgewater Canal to Runcorn and the Trent and Mersey.


Macclesfield Canal facts…

Runs from just north of Kidsgrove to Marple
Junctions The Trent and Mersey Canal at Hardings Wood Junction and the
Length 28 miles
Locks 13
Tunnels 0
Aqueduct Red Bull aqueduct near Hardings Wood is one of a few canal aqueducts which cross other canals, an early example of a ‘canal flyover’.