Cruising Rings: Two Weeks

The UK waterways network offers a variety of cruising rings or loops which offer boaters a way of exploring part of the waterways system without necessarily having to see the same bit of waterway twice.

See below for examples of what might be achievable in two weeks.

Avon Ring

Waterways: Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, River Avon Navigation, River Severn Navigation, Worcester & Birmingham Canal
Distance: 109 miles (50 miles narrow canal, 59 miles river)
No. of Locks: 134 locks (116 narrow locks, 18 wide locks)
No. Tunnels: 5
No. Aqueducts: 5
Travelling time: 57 hours

Cheshire Ring

Waterways: Bridgewater Canal, Rochdale Canal, Ashton Canal, Peak Forest Canal, Macclesfield Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal
Distance:  102 (30 miles wide canal, 72 miles narrow canal including a 40 mile lock-free pound)
No. of Locks: 92 (9 wide locks, 83 narrow locks)
No. Tunnels: 4
No. Aqueducts: 2
Travelling time: 55 hours
Additional Information:
This route passes one of the seven wonders of the waterways, the Anderton Boat Lift.

Four Counties Ring

Waterways: Shropshire Union Canal - Middlewich Branch, Trent & Mersey Canal, Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, Shropshire Union Canal
Distance:  110 miles (14 miles wide canal, 96 miles narrow canal)
No. of Locks: 94 (4 wide locks, 90 narrow locks)
No. Tunnels: 1
No. Aqueducts: 9
No. Embankments:
4 
Travelling time: 55 hours

Leicester Ring

Waterways: River Trent, River Soar, Grand Union Canal - Leicester Line, Grand Union Canal, Oxford Canal, Coventry Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal
Distance:  152 mile (29 miles river, 40 miles wide canal, 83 miles narrow canal)
No. of Locks: 99 (55 wide locks, 44 narrow locks)
No. Tunnels: 5
No. Aqueducts: 6
Travelling time: 65 hours
Additional Information: This route passes one of the seven wonders of the waterways, Foxton Inclined Plane.

South Pennine Ring

Waterways: Calder & Hebble Navigation, Huddersfield Broad Canal, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Ashton Canal, Rochdale Canal
Distance: 67 miles (31 miles wide canal, 27 miles narrow canal, 9 miles river)
No. of Locks: 199 (107 wide locks, 92 narrow locks)
No. Tunnels: 3
No. Aqueducts: 6
Travelling time: 70 hours
Additional Information: This route passes one of the seven wonders of the waterways, Standedge Tunnel.

Stourport Ring

Waterways: Birmingham Canal, Stourbridge Canal, Dudley Canal, Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Severn Navigation, Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal
Distance: 78 miles (65 miles narrow canal, 13 miles river)
No. of Locks: 122 (119 narrow locks, 3 wide locks)
No. Tunnels: 8
Travelling time: 50 hours

Warwickshire Ring

Waterways: Coventry Canal, Oxford Canal, Grand Union Canal, Birmingham & Fazeley Canal
Distance: 98 miles
No. of Locks: 90 (43 narrow locks, 47 wide locks)
No. Tunnels: 3
No. Aqueducts: 6
Travelling time: 50 hours

Download a map of canals and rivers in England and Wales (PDF 7MB) - This inland waterways route map, reproduced with kind permission from Waterways World, will enable you to search for possible cruising rings.



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