Kidsgrove

A journey to the southern end of the Macclesfield Canal takes in some of the most gorgeous countryside in England.  Travelling past Sandbach & Church Lawton and tackling the 31 locks of Heartbreak Hill, which rewards you with stunning views across the surrounding countryside. To finally arrive at Kidsgrove where you can be rewarded with a warm welcome and a cold beverage at one of its several good pubs, as well as take a stroll up to the Harecastle Tunnel entrance.

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Introduction

Kidsgrove from Middlewich

A lovely route to tackle over a long weekend or mid-week break to Kidsgrove. You can complete this route with a lot of intense boating in 2 days (approx 10 hours a day) or take it a little easier in a leisurely 3 to 4 days.  Between Middlewich and Kidsgrove there are 31 locks that make up Heartbreak Hill, these are spread across 12 miles of the canal as it climbs to reach it’s peak. 

As you proceed you will pass the towns of Sandbach and Church Lawton, however you never really cruise through the centre of the towns so the countryside is fairly uninterrupted for the whole route.

This is a route for some proper boating and lock wheeling, as well as getting away from it all and into the countryside.

At Kidsgrove you will meet Hardingswood Junction as well as Red Bull Services, where there is a shower block, toilet and rubbish facilities and a water point to refill the boat’s water tank.

Also there are three pubs that you can visit here which include The Red BullCanal Tavern & The Blue Bell Inn.

From then on it’s a return to home, or you could continue to explore the Harecastle Tunnel and onwards to Stoke (continuing along the route of the Four Counties Ring) or the Caldon Canal to Froghall. The other option here or the route up the Macclesfield Canal towards the towns of Congleton, Macclesfield, Bollington, Poynton and Marple (this continues along the route of the Cheshire Ring).

If you are heading back to base form here though, prepare to tackle Heartbreak Hill in reverse!

Middlewich to Kidsgrove

26 Miles, 3¼ furlongs, 62 locks, 10 Aqueducts. Total cruising time approx 21 hours and 46 minutes.

NAVIGATION NOTES

  • Tetton Bridge
    • Beware of the change in bridge profile when heading south.
  • Wheelock Botto Lock No 66
    • Towpath side lock appears intact but is closed.
  • Wheelock Lock No 61
    • The towpath-side lock is open, but marked as “narrow” and unsuitable for boats with a beam of over 6’10”
  • Lower Thurlwood Lock No 54
    • The towpath side lock is narrow and not suitbale for boats with a beam of over 6’10”
  • Church Lawton Bottom Lock No 48
    • The lock opposite the towpath side is apparently intact but closed.
  • Red Bull Lock No 45
    • Offside lock is not operational due to paddle problems.

Detailed Route:

Trent and Mersey Canal
From Middlewich Top Wharf to:

Middlewich Junction Water point

Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal Main Line with Wardle Lock Branch leading to Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch
½ furlongs, 0 locks
Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line – Harding’s Wood to Middlewich)
From Middlewich Junction Water point (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal Main Line with Wardle Lock Branch leading to Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch) to:
Tetton Bridge [see navigational note] 1 mile, 4½ furlongs, 2 locks
Elton Moss Wharf 2 miles, ½ furlongs, 3 locks

Wharf Bridge No 154

Wheelock . Also known as ‘Wheelock’
2 miles, 2½ furlongs, 0 locks

Wheelock Bottom Lock No 66 [see navigational note]

Locks from here to Red Bull Top Lock are duplicated except where noted.
2¼ furlongs, 0 locks

Wheelock Lock No 61 [see navigational note]

Towpath-side lock is open but marked as “narrow” and unsuitable for boats over 6’10” (September 2013). Also known as ‘Clock Lock’, ‘Office Lock’, ‘Kimmick Lock’, ‘Cardboard Lock’
6 furlongs, 5 locks

Wheelock Flight Top Lock No 59

Malkin’s Bank Flight Nos 59 to 64. Also known as ‘Cork’s Lock’, ‘Maddock’s Lock’

Having passed through Wheelock Flight

3 furlongs, 2 locks

Lower Thurlwood Lock No 54 [see navigational note]

Towpath side lock is narrow and not suitable for boats over 6’10” (Sept 2013). Also known as ‘Woodall’s Lock’
2 miles, 1¼ furlongs, 5 locks
Lawton Moorings A good place to moor 1 mile, 1½ furlongs, 2 locks
Church Lawton Bottom Lock No 48 [see navigational note] Having passed through Lawton Treble Locks 3¾ furlongs, 4 locks

Red Bull Lock No 45 [see navigational note]

Townfield or Top of Church Pound Lock. Also known as ‘Townfield Lock’, ‘Top of Church Pound Lock’, ‘Kent’s Locks’
6¼ furlongs, 3 locks

Red Bull Services toilets for boatersWater pointToilet pump-outRubbish disposalChemical toilets can be emptied here

Also known as ‘Red Bull Wharf’
2¼ furlongs, 2 locks

Hardings Wood Junction

Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Hall Green Branch
5 furlongs, 3 locks
Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line – Etruria to Hardings Wood)
From Hardings Wood Junction (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Hall Green Branch) to:

Harecastle Tunnel (northern entrance) Water pointRubbish disposalChemical toilets can be emptied here

Kidsgrove. Also known as ‘Kidsgrove’
2¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Turn round here

Hardings Wood Junction

Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Hall Green Branch
2¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line – Harding’s Wood to Middlewich)
From Hardings Wood Junction (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Hall Green Branch) to:

Red Bull Services toilets for boatersWater pointToilet pump-outRubbish disposalChemical toilets can be emptied here

Also known as ‘Red Bull Wharf’
5 furlongs, 3 locks

Red Bull Lock No 45 [see navigational note]

Townfield or Top of Church Pound Lock. Also known as ‘Townfield Lock’, ‘Top of Church Pound Lock’, ‘Kent’s Locks’
2¼ furlongs, 1 lock
Church Lawton Bottom Lock No 48 [see navigational note] 6¼ furlongs, 3 locks
Lawton Moorings A good place to moor Having passed through Lawton Treble Locks 3¾ furlongs, 5 locks

Lower Thurlwood Lock No 54 [see navigational note]

Towpath side lock is narrow and not suitable for boats over 6’10” (Sept 2013). Also known as ‘Woodall’s Lock’
1 mile, 1½ furlongs, 1 lock

Wheelock Flight Top Lock No 59

Malkin’s Bank Flight Nos 59 to 64. Also known as ‘Cork’s Lock’, ‘Maddock’s Lock’
2 miles, 1¼ furlongs, 5 locks

Wheelock Lock No 61 [see navigational note]

Towpath-side lock is open but marked as “narrow” and unsuitable for boats over 6’10” (September 2013). Also known as ‘Clock Lock’, ‘Office Lock’, ‘Kimmick Lock’, ‘Cardboard Lock’
3 furlongs, 2 locks

Wheelock Bottom Lock No 66 [see navigational note]

Locks from here to Red Bull Top Lock are duplicated except where noted.

Having passed through Wheelock Flight

6 furlongs, 5 locks

Wharf Bridge No 154

Wheelock . Also known as ‘Wheelock’
2¼ furlongs, 1 lock
Elton Moss Wharf 2 miles, 2½ furlongs, 0 locks
Tetton Bridge [see navigational note] 2 miles, ½ furlongs, 3 locks

Middlewich Junction Water point

Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal Main Line with Wardle Lock Branch leading to Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch
1 mile, 4½ furlongs, 2 locks
Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line – Middlewich to Preston Brook)
From Middlewich Junction Water point (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal Main Line with Wardle Lock Branch leading to Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch) to:
Middlewich Top Wharf

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