Canal Boat - - The Cruise Guide - MIn­shull Lock on the Mid­dlewich Branch

pick of wa­ter­ing holes on the

Bar­bridge. 01270 528327. Near Bridge 100. Large fam­ily-friendly pub with lo­cal real ales, food, play area and gar­den

Bad­ger Cross Lane, Church Min­shull. 01270 522348. 5 mins west of Bridge 14 on Mid­dlewich Branch. Listed his­toric vil­lage pub, real ale, food, tra­di­tional pub games and gar­den

Ch­ester Road, Al­pra­ham. 01829 260523. 10 mins north east of Bun­bury Locks, left at main road. Un­spoilt gem for those just want­ing drinks – no food, no mu­sic, but real ale and in­te­rior un­changed since 1930s

Bee­ston. 01829 730581. At Bridge 109. Re­cently re­fur­bished coun­try pub with real ale, food and water­side gar­den

Christle­ton. 01244 332200. Canal­side at Bridge 120. Tra­di­tional coun­try inn, part of the Vin­tage Inns chain, with real ale, food and gar­den.

Bridge Tarvin Road, Boughton. 01244 312120. West of Bridge 123. Pop­u­lar com­mu­nity pub re­cently re­opened with good value food, real ale, canal­side gar­den, oc­ca­sional live mu­sic, quiz Sun­day and film night Mon­day

Ch­ester. 01244 344525. At Bridge 123B. Smart pub in con­verted canal ware­house. Big range of real ales and ciders, food and canal­side out­door seat­ing

Ch­ester. 01244 328064. Near Bridge 123E. Con­verted ware­house with real ale, food and water­side out­door seat­ing

Ch­ester. 01244 390090. By Tower Wharf. Busy pub in his­toric ware­house with live mu­sic, real ale, an­nual beer fes­ti­val, restau­rant, out­side seat­ing

Oddfel­lows Lit­tle Stan­ney Lane, Stoak. 01244 301665. 5 mins north west of Bridge 136. 17th Cen­tury vil­lage pub with open fires and low beams. Lo­cal real ale, food, pa­tio and gar­den

Pub­de­tail­sare­like­ly­tochangeat­short­no­tice: youaread­vised­to­phonea­head­tobesure con­tin­ues its north-west­erly course to Calver­ley which once fea­tured a trans­ship­ment wharf be­tween the canal and rail­way. To­day it has a pub and a water­side café com­plete with cheese shop, which makes it a pleas­ant place to stop for a while.

Next come the two stair­case locks at Bun­bury which will keep boaters busy for some time. The locks have a very at­trac­tive set­ting with a boat­yard and hire base at the foot of the flight, and a line of well-pre­served old sta­bles on one side of the locks. Th­ese were once used by the horse-drawn Shrop­pie fly-boats – non-stop craft car­ry­ing ur­gent or per­ish­able car­goes which con­nected the Black Coun­try fac­to­ries to the Mersey ports and the rest of the Shrop­shire Union sys­tem.

Leav­ing Bun­bury, the canal is ac­com­pa­nied by the River Gowy as it passes through a beau­ti­ful wooded sec­tion to Til­stone Lock where a mill dat­ing back to the 1830s has been con­verted to res­i­den­tial use. From Til­stone it is an­other mile to the two locks at Bee­ston.

Bee­ston Stone Lock and Bee­ston Iron Lock are both over­looked by a high ridge which is topped by Bee­ston Cas­tle (see in­set). The cas­tle is more eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from Whar­ton’s Lock us­ing the Sand­stone Trail foot­path.

Af­ter vis­it­ing the cas­tle, re­turn to Bate’s Mill where there is an ex­cel­lent

Bar­bridge Inn

Trav­ellers Rest

Shady Oak

Cheshire Cat

Old Hark­ers Arms

Lock Keeper,

Telford’s Ware­house

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