Route Info | Boats | Map overview of route | Cruising Notes | Maps & Guides | Links | Pub Guide


You can do this route from :
Wrenbury Marina

This cruise takes you pass the famous Meres- or lakes made durung the Ice Age to the 18th century Market town of Ellesmere.
A very pleasant rural cruise with beautiful scenery, and through the small staircase locks at Grindley Brook.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Cruising Days : 4.00

Cruising Time : 21.50 hours

Total Distance : 38.00 miles

Number of Locks : 20

Number of Tunnels : 0

Number of Aqueducts : 0

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Read our cruising notes.


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Cruising Notes

Day 1

Cruising westwards towards Llangollen, on the first day you probably will not get very far, as by the time you've checked in and stashed all your belongings and provisions, watched the training video and had your training, time will be passing.

If you fancy a bit of cruising before dark, you will just have time to get used to the feel of your boat, and enjoy the beautiful countryside and get stuck into a couple of locks, before you moor up after a few miles and make yourself a cup of tea and relax after the stress and strain of the days car journey.

Cruise to Marbury and you can walk the ½ mile south into the enchanting village from Bridge 23, there is a pub here.

Passing through the lovely countryside, continue on through 2 locks until you get to Willeymoor Lock where you can moor up for the night outside the Willeymoor Lock tavern.

It is 2.5 hours cruising to here

Day 2

After Willeymoor Lock, there is Poveys lock to negotiate just a little bit further on.

The open quiet countryside continues but as you approach Grindley Brook, prepare your crew as there are 6 locks ahead, including 3 in the form of a staircase. At the end of a straight stretch a massive railway embankment precedes a sharp bend, around which is the start of the locks. Boats should remain below the railway embankment, and between April to October 8.30am to 18.30 pm obtain the advice of the friendly lock-keeper before starting to negotiate the locks, as he will know which boats are queuing to go up and down.

The Horse & Jockey Pub is near the bottom lock, there is also Lockside Stores where you can obtain provisions and the cafe there has internet access & is open April-October for tea, coffee & snacks.

The canal now approaches Whitchurch, and if you have time it is worth exploring this fine old Roman town which has some beautiful old houses of all periods in its centre. The streets are narrow & it has a variety of shops and pubs, moor up along the Whitchurch Arm, after the lift bridge turn a sharp left and cruise to the end, it is about 15 minutes walk into the town.

It is 4 hours from Marbury to Whitchurch.

From Whitchurch the canal once again goes through the open countryside passing no villages for miles.

Continue your cruise and you will shortly reach Whixall Moss, a raised bog with rare insect and plant life, but there might be mosquitoes as well! The bog was also formed during the Ice Age. There are walks & cycle routes over Whixall Moss, see leaflets near bridges 44 & 45.

There is a lovely lift bridge at bridge 45.

The canal branches away to your left but Prees Branch only leads to a nature reserve & a marina, so keep right.

The canal passes into England and then into Wales, going backwards & forwards past a remote and unpopulated area. At bridge 48 is the small village of Bettisfield, there is a stores here & off-licence.

Soon the open countryside gives way to more hilly wooded landscape as you start to pass through the Meres that make this area famously called the mini Lake District.

Cole Mere is the first on your left, then Blake Mere further on your right. The largest Mere is by Ellesmere itself, you can walk to it from Bridge 57 just after the short Ellesmere Tunnel. The Meres were carved out during the Ice Age.

You will soon be approaching Ellesmere, and a fine old warehouse and small canalside crane, and old canal company offices, testify to the canal trading that used to be carried out from here.

Ellesmere is a busy 18th century market town with delightful pubs and restaurants, also a variety of shops and a Co-op. Moor up the end of the Ellesmere Arm a canal branch to your right .

To Ellesmere it is 8 hours 15 minutes cruising from Willeymoor Lock

Day 3

Cruise the 5.5 hours back to Whitchurch & moor up along the Whitchurch Branch arm.

Day 4
Day 5

Cruise the 5.5 hours back to Wrenbury marina from Whitchurch.


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)

Bar Headed Goose (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Barn Owl (Sleeps a maximum of 10 People).

Bean Goose (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Black Woodpecker (Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Cape Weaver (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Cobbs Wren (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Dune Lark (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Greater Spotted Eagle (Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).

Hermit Thrush (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Humblots Heron (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

Lapland Bunting (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

Osprey (Sleeps a maximum of 7 People).

Purple Heron (Sleeps a maximum of 5 People).

Redwing (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Slender Billed Gull (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Western Grebe (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Winter Wren (Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Yellow Legged Gull (Sleeps a maximum of 6 People).

Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Pubs available on this canal route:-

  Pub Name Pub Address Distance from Wrenbury More Info
The Cotton Arms Cholmondeley Road, Wrenbury CW5 8HG Full Details
The Swan Wrenbury Road, Marbury, Whitchurch SY13 4LS 2.24 Miles Full Details
The Willeymoor Lock Tavern Tarporley Road, Whitchurch SY13 4HF 3.91 Miles Full Details
The Black Bear 49 High Street, Whitchurch SY13 1AZ 4.99 Miles Full Details
The Anchor Inn Pepper Street, Whitchurch SY13 1BG 5.04 Miles Full Details
The Dog And Bull Coton, Whitchurch SY13 2RA 9.29 Miles Full Details
The Red Lion 18 Church Street, Ellesmere SY12 0HD 14.24 Miles Full Details
The White Hart Birch Road, Ellesmere SY10 0ET 36.10 Miles Full Details

NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.