The Harecastle Tunnel, sometimes called the Brindley tunnel because it was designed by James Brindley, on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Staffordshire between Kidsgrove and Tunstall, has specific operating times for travel and afternoon passages need to be pre-booked.

Harecastle Tunnel Summer opening times from 1st March 2024 to 31st October 2024:

Open passages are available from 8am to 12 noon, Monday to Sunday. Un-booked (Open) passages must arrive at the tunnel portal between 8am and 12 noon. There is no guarantee of passage for arrivals after 12 noon unless pre booked the day before online at Canal river trust and follow the links to book passage through tunnels and locks, or alternatively contact customer services on 0303 040 4040.

In summary:

  • Non-booked passages can arrive at the Tunnel between 8 am to 12 noon (Monday to Sunday)
  • Booked passages are available between 2 pm and 4 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Bookable passages are available Southbound (Kidsgrove to Tunstall) at 2pm and 4pm and Northbound (Tunstall to Kidsgrove) at 3pm.

In summary, Bookable Passages:
2pm – Southbound (Kidsgrove to Westport Lake)
3 pm – Northbound (Westport Lake to Kidsgrove)
4 pm – Southbound (Kidsgrove to Westport Lake)

For direct tunnel enquiries please email

Please always follow the directions of our team members on site. Passage is only permitted with a working horn and tunnel light; at present we are unable to lend such items.

How to Book
You can pre-book your passage through the Harecastle Tunnel north online at:

Alternatively, you can wait until your arrival at the Stoke on Trent canal boat hire base and we can manage this for you, however, time slots may become limited if you want to quickly be boated through Harecastle.

Where is the Harecastle Tunnel?

The tunnel is located north of our Stoke on Trent hire base on the Trent and Mersey canal (about 45 minutes cruising time). The last northbound passage is at 3pm, which means that guests wishing to head north on boats through the tunnel will not be able to go through on the first day of cruising.

If you wish to cruise north through canal tunnels, we recommend you moor at Westport lake or stay at the base for the night and travel through the next morning.

Alternatively, if you plan to cruise the Four Counties Ring, we recommend you head south first. If you have booked a short break and want to make the most of your cruising time, we recommend heading head south to Great Heywood.


Take a look at our LOCATIONS page to start planning your narrowboat holiday.

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Or if you would like help planning your adventure then call on +44 (0)1527 575 115 and a Black Prince team member will be happy to help!