Narrow Boat Hire for Trent and Mersey Canal Holidays
The Trent and Mersey is one of the finest places to take a narrow boat cruise or holiday. No matter waht interests you have you will be able to find something to write home about if you take your canal holiday down here. With some of the finest scenery that the country has to offer it is a great break from a busy life. Hire A Canal Boat are proud to offer narrow boats and canal boats for cruising down this historic canal. Please click this link for more information on the availability of our boats for your canal holiday.
History of the Trent and Mersey Canal
Unsurprisingly, the Trent and Mersey Canal (T & M) begins in close proximity to the River Mersey (near Runcorn) and finishes at a waterway junction with
the River Trent and River Derwent in Derbyshire. It is just over 93 miles in long. It is a ‘narrow’ canal for most of its length though at its two extremities, east of Burton and west of Middlewich, it is a ‘wide’ canal. The narrow and wide sections are symbolized respectively by the narrow locks (one boat a time) and the wide locks (two boats in one direction at a time). Narrow locks of course were built mainly to save money at the time though ultimately they caused boat traffic to slow and helped the cause of the developing competition on the railway lines.
The T & M was one of the earliest canals built in England.The idea of a canal connection from the Mersey to the Trent (also known as "The Grand Trunk") came from the famous canal engineer James Brindley. The Grand Trunk was a part of a larger scheme of Brindley's to link the four main rivers of England (Trent, Mersey, Severn and of course, the Thames) in a project known as the "Grand Cross
In 1766, it was an Act of Parliament that permitted the building of the Trent & Mersey Canal and the first sod was cut at Middleport in July of that year by Josiah Wedgwood, the world famous pottery entrepreneur. Just over ten or so years later, the whole canal project, including more than 70 locks and five tunnels, was opened
The Trent & Mersey canal has a great deal of historical interest for boaters and visitors and passes through some really nice countryside. It passes through Derbyshire into mainly rural Staffordshire before rolling through the former industrial heartland of the Potteries and ultimately into the relatively lock heavy Cheshire Plains.
Near the River Trent, Shardlow is one of England's best preserved canal towns with some super pubs and a tea-room at weekends. Try the Swan pub at Fradley Junction which has an excellent view of the comings and goings at this busy canal junction.. Stone has some fascinating old canal buildings. Shugborough Hall dates from the 17th century and is surrounded by wonderful parkland, the Gatehouse alone is the size of many mansions! An English Civil War battle was fought just to the north of here at Hopton Heath. As previously mentioned, Josiah Wedgwood was involved in getting the canal built and the Wedgwood factory and museum are canal-side just south of Stoke on Trent. Middlewich and Northwich are Cheshire salt towns dating back to the Romans.
The canal is well known for its tunnels too. They are at Harecastle, Barnton, Saltersford and Preston Brook. Saltersford Tunnel even has a kink in it. The tunneling process started at two different points and didn't quite meet in the middle as planned!. Preston Brook has a large central chamber where an earlier collapse was fully repaired, and cruising through the pitch dark confines of Harecastle tunnel is an experience nobody forgets! The tunnel is open to one way traffic only and takes around 40 minutes. The direction of passage alternates around every two hours.
The eastern section of Trent & Mersey Canal all but traverses the un-navigable route of the River Trent from Stoke to Derwent Mouth (only one mile or so from Shardlow). This is a truly fascinating canal with some amazing bridges to see aswell.
Follow this link to see what availability Hire A Canal Boat has for canal holidays along the Trent and Mersey.