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
Old Harkers Arms