Boat Hire

Ellesmere and return from Wrenbury Mill - 3 Nights

Cruising Time Per Day 8.5hrs • Total Locks 20


Wrenbury to Ellesmere – Past Whitchurch, across Whixall Moss, to Ellesmere and back – 3 nights – total locks 20 (10 x 2)

This relaxing short break takes you under lift bridges and down a lock staircase then past giant moss-filled bogs, home to wildfowl and exotic plants. A diverse journey, bursting with international importance, leads through lush green fields past Ice-Age lakes to vital canal heritage.

Opposite a canalside former corn mill (now a pub), the base at Wrenbury Mill is just a short walk from thatched cottages and a church ranged around the quintessentially English village green. St. Margaret’s Church sits on the site of the original sister chapel established in the 1100s by Cistercian monks from nearby Combermere Abbey. Much of the church now dates from the 17th and 18th centuries and contains many reminders of two important local families, the Cottons of Combermere and the Starkeys of Wrenbury Hall. The two families were bitter rivals over both land and pews in the church, and the dispute was finally settled in 1748 with each family being allocated a specific side of the church in which to sit. There’s also an unusual pew for the ‘dog whipper’, reputedly in charge of controlling both dogs and snoozing parishioners!

Leaving Wrenbury through lift bridges synonymous with the Llangollen Canal, the canal ambles its way through quiet rural surroundings with isolated locks. The Sandstone Trail and Bishop Bennet Way meet the canal at Willeymoor Lock and its pub – both are 34 miles long, and the latter was originally designed as a horse trail named after William Bennet (1745- 1820), Bishop of Cork and Ross then later Bishop of Cloyne, who carried out detailed surveys of Roman roads including those between Chester (Deva) and Whitchurch (Mediolanum).

Grindley Brook presents your first major canal challenge – the last three of Grindley Brook’s six locks are joined together in a staircase – but don’t worry, there is a lock keeper on hand to help during the busy summer season.

About a mile beyond Grindley Brook, the pretty town of Whitchurch lies at the end of the short Whitchurch Arm. The town dates back to Roman times and is recorded in the Domesday Book. It is famed for Joyce's tower clocks, and was also the historic collection point for Cheshire cheese to be loaded onto canal boats and transported to Ellesmere Port for export. If you’re here on the first Saturday in the month, try some local cheeses at the Farmers’ Market. Whitchurch’s other claim to canal fame is a former rector of the Grade I-listed St Alkmund’s Church. Francis Henry Egerton came from the lineage of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater who instructed canal engineer James Brindley to build the Bridgewater Canal, hence launching a canal revolution!

The canal now winds its way through an open rural landscape. Then, just beyond the junction with the short Prees Branch, the canal crosses the huge expanse of the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Together with Cadney and Wem Mosses, the area forms Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog, also a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, a European Special Area of Conservation, and apparently large enough to be seen from space! It is teeming with plant and insect life, and of course plenty of bird-spotting opportunities too, with regular sightings of Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and countless others.

Just past bridge 53, the canal bends round past Cole Mere, the first of several glacial Ice-Age meres (lakes) in this stunning landscape. The short Ellesmere Tunnel (87yds/80m long) signals your approach to the small town of Ellesmere. There’s plenty to explore here including the Meres Visitor Centre by the large Mere which gave Ellesmere its name.

Ellesmere Yard, just opposite the short town arm, was once a typical sight along Britain's canals, and is now a rare example of an unspoilt and much-cherished canal scene, a well-preserved canal maintenance yard dating from the early 1800s. In the cluster of buildings, many are Grade II*-listed, including a blacksmith's forge and joiner's shop, a dry dock, a yard manager's house and Beech House, once head offices of Ellesmere Canal Company. Visitors may revel in the fact they’re treading on the spot where engineer Thomas Telford worked while building this canal.

After exploring the town, your journey retraces back to Wrenbury Mill.


The following are examples of the boats that you can hire from ABC Boat Hire at Wrenbury Mill:


Alvechurch Weaver - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Weaver - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Grebe - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Tyne Class - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 48ft, Crusier Stern

Alvechurch Wren - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Bunting - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 47ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Heron - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 58ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Heron - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 58ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Lark - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Wye Class - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 68ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Woodpecker - For a maximum of 8 people, 4+4Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Owl - For a maximum of 10 people, 6+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern



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