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Kidsgrove, take on the Heartbreak Hill challenge in 2020!

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 [3], 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 Bull [4]Canal Tavern [5] & The Blue Bell Inn [6].

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 [7]) or the Caldon Canal to Froghall [8]. 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 

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  (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 Wharf2 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 1 mile, 1½ furlongs, 2 locks
Church Lawton Bottom Lock No 48 [see navigational note] Having passed through Lawton Treble Locks3¾ 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     

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)   

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     

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  Having passed through Lawton Treble Locks3¾ 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 Wharf2 miles, 2½ furlongs, 0 locks
Tetton Bridge [see navigational note]2 miles, ½ furlongs, 3 locks

Middlewich Junction 

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  (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal Main Line with Wardle Lock Branch leading to Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch) to:
Middlewich Top Wharf

Testimonials

What People are Saying

  • Paul’s narrow boat did everything it was supposed to do despite us being complete novices! Had a wonderful time chugging... read more

    Peter
    9/07/2018

    We had a weekend on the Gemini III on a cold January weekend but still had a wonderful time! The... read more

    ing-ping
    1/31/2018

    This was our first experience of a narrow boat and so we only had a vague idea of what to... read more

    ianrC2760...
    7/08/2019
  • Booking the boat was made straightforward and easy, the boat itself was really nice and Paul was laid back and... read more

    Gemma
    9/09/2019

    This was a hoot. My wife and I rented one of the Narrow Boats. It was 40' long and just... read more

    Fred Q
    5/25/2019

    I spent the weekend on the boat for my mates stag do. We had Paul driving the boat for us... read more

    Matthew Smith
    11/13/2019
  • Paul was very helpful, although the Weather was not so good we will be prepared for rain next time! Boat... read more

    MAI863
    7/09/2019

    If you are a first timer on the canal then this is the ideal holiday for you. My wife... read more

    ste michaels
    11/13/2019

    Management brilliant. Nine adults had a great weekend on the canal as first time explorers. Boat clean and superb. Would... read more

    JohnF2574
    5/12/2019
  • The owner Paul was an excellent host, answering any queries before the booking and was very flexible in his approach... read more

    ClaratayS...
    3/05/2018

    Paul excellent on the getting started , best sleep in the beds they are so comfy ,no noise but the... read more

    Sam Gordon
    8/29/2019

    Very nice People. No Problems. Wonderful holidays. Greetings from Austria. We will come again. Thomas

    Thomas Schwed
    6/29/2019
  • We spent 4 days on one of Floating Holidays' boats in end May 2019. I recommend them very highly: they... read more

    Hugh Everett
    6/06/2019

    We decided to rent Paul’s floating home for the Easter weekend and we were not disappointed. As both of us... read more

    Peter
    4/02/2018

    Absolutely beautiful stretch of canal from Poynton to Whalley Bridge. Would definitely do it again. Although I was with a... read more

    Jill Jenkins
    9/26/2019
  • We booked this boat at very short notice due to cancellation of our booked holiday and we had a lovely... read more

    SiouxT57
    8/27/2019

    Enjoyed our break away last year so much we have re-booked - can’t wait.

    Cathy Smith
    5/09/2018

    Great weekend. A lot easier than you'd imagine. Beautiful scenery.. everyone is friendly and helpful. Highly recommend.

    Joseph Grundy
    5/29/2019
  •  Having fab short break on Gemini III - lovely n interesting trip up to Bugsworth Basin.

    Vicki Jones
    4/10/2019

    A great boat for our two families, lots of fun for all -swing bridges, narrow turns and lovely country pubs.... read more

    Rachel
    1/02/2020

    Great weekend. A lot easier than you'd imagine. Beautiful scenery.. everyone is friendly and helpful. Highly recommend.

    Joseph Grundy
    11/13/2019
  • Had lovely experience boat lovely bed sooo comfortable Paul was a great host, narrowboat dog friendly ,had no issues but... read more

    kdew336
    8/23/2019

    If you are a first timer on the canal then this is the ideal holiday for you. My wife... read more

    ste michaels
    5/29/2019

    This trip surpassed our expectations. It was the small touches that made it extra nice, the dog biscuits and dog... read more

    HayleyHor...
    8/12/2018
  • Wonderful weekend had on Gemini. Paul was fab and gave full instructions and demonstration for handling the boat. Luckily we... read more

    Danielle2...
    2/18/2019

    The boat was as advertised and Paul was a great host. We had a great time with lovely weather and... read more

    Lucy
    6/24/2019

    We spent a weekend on Lady Sophia at the end of April 2019, for the wife’s birthday. Couldn’t be happier... read more

    115steven
    7/07/2019
  • Lovely boat, just the right size and with everything you need! We went in January but was warm and... read more

    Ingrid Ashton
    2/02/2018

    Boat was clean and well equipped ready for use, easy to use and we had a really relaxed week sailing... read more

    Patrick Casken
    11/13/2019

    The boat was clean and the beds were really comfy. Thoroughly enjoyed our family of 4 trip over 7 days.... read more

    Tina Begley
    11/13/2019
  • The boat was clean and the beds were really comfy. Thoroughly enjoyed our family of 4 trip over 7 days.... read more

    Tina Begley
    9/29/2019

    I had a wonderful stay on Paul's narrow boat. It's a perfect, leisurely and relaxing way to spend a holiday... read more

    Jason
    9/20/2017

    I’ve used the floating holidays for the last couple of years & had a fantastic time every time . Boats... read more

    danny booth
    11/13/2019
  • We hired the Lady Sophia for a week because we are thinking of buying a narrowboat and wanted to see... read more

    C8750ALmi...
    2/22/2020

    I’ve used the floating holidays for the last couple of years & had a fantastic time every time . Boats... read more

    danny booth
    9/29/2019

    This was a most enjoyable time aboard the Gemini III, made possible by Paul's efficient and personal handling of our... read more

    Sandy
    5/02/2018
  • Neither of us had operated a large boat before. Paul was very helpful and made sure we were confident before... read more

    simes303
    1/07/2019

    Picked up the narrow boat at Poynton and motored through to Whaley Bridge on our 5 day rental. Bed was... read more

    Pat G
    7/07/2019

     This is our 2nd holiday with them. 2017 on Gemini III their 4 berth. 2018 on Rakiraki the 10 Berth.... read more

    Alison Darby
    8/21/2018
  •  We have just come home from a lovely canal boat holiday booked with Floating Holidays. Paul couldn’t have been... read more

    Sue Hay
    5/04/2019

    I spent the weekend on the boat for my mates stag do. We had Paul driving the boat for us... read more

    Matthew Smith
    8/29/2019

    We spent 4 days on one of Floating Holidays' boats in end May 2019. I recommend them very highly: they... read more

    Hugh Everett
    11/13/2019
  • Very nice People. No Problems. Wonderful holidays. Greetings from Austria. We will come again. Thomas

    Thomas Schwed
    11/13/2019

    Had a great short break on Gemini III (Mon-Fri). Paul was friendly and handover was quick and efficient. We cruised... read more

    fiona b
    3/13/2019

    We are thinking of buying a narrowboat. We know what it is like when the weather is good and wanted... read more

    C8750ALmi...
    2/23/2020

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2020 cruising dates available

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Frequently asked questions

FAQs [10]