The Peak District Base
Situated on the re-developed National Garden Festival Site, this is one of the most popular Black Prince starting points. Close by there is an exciting Water World, dry ski-slope, multi-screen cinema, ten pin bowling and shopping centre… and that is before you get on the water!
The variety of routes is wide with the Cheshire Ring and Four Counties being favourites. You travel through some of the waterways’ most beautiful scenery, along with the pure contrast of the Potteries, Royal Doulton, Cheddleton Mill and Wedgwood industries. For the more energetic there’s Alton Towers near the end of the Caldon Canal
Suggested Routes from The Peak District:
110 Miles, 92 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 9 hours per day (ROUTE A)
A more active route; you travel northwards through the Harecastle Tunnel and join the Macclesfield Canal via a fly-over. This is a lovely canal through Congleton, Macclesfield and Marple to Manchester. The canal here is currently being improved, but has some way to go. A lock-free section of the Bridgewater Canal (where it all started) follows until Middlewich, passing the Anderton Lift. A section with plenty of locks takes you back home to Stoke.
111 Miles, 94 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 8 hours per day (ROUTE B)
Another more active route, you travel southwards from the marina past the Wedgwood factory and through the canal town of Stone to Great Haywood, where you meet the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. Travelling westwards, you join the Shropshire Union Canal at Autherley. The ‘Shroppie’ with its impressive architecture, banks and cuttings, carries you northwards to the Middlewich Arm. At Middlewich you rejoin the Trent & Mersey Canal which carries you back to Stoke through a number of locks and the Harecastle Tunnel.
42 Miles, 34 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 3 hours per day (ROUTE C)
An easy week down one of the most beautiful and quiet canals of them all. From the junction near the marina, you progress up the locks to the outskirts of Stoke via factories and parks. Here you encounter progressively more picturesque countryside as you enter the Churnet Valley. The Leek branch contains no locks from the junction, whereas the Froghall branch descends to the River Churnet. If time permits, a trip down the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stone is well worthwhile.
82 Miles, 26 Locks, 1 Week Cruise, 6 hours per day (ROUTE D)
An easy week, travelling into the Peak District to the end of the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge. Travelling north through the Harecastle Tunnel, you join the Macclesfield Canal at Hardings Wood. The Macclesfield Canal skirts the edge of the Peak District through the small towns of Congleton, Macclesfield and Marple, before turning onto the Peak Forest Canal to Whaley Bridge.