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Macclesfield Canal

At a glance
Length: 26 miles, Locks: 13 (Bosley flight & one stop lock), Recommended time: Day Trips, weekend breaks or longer holidays

The Macclesfield Canal is one of the most beautiful and versatile canals on the English Waterways. Stunning scenery, bustling towns and only 13 locks make this canal perfect for beginners and experienced boaters alike.


Situated in beautiful scenery among the rolling Cheshire plain and hills of the Peak District National Park, the Macclesfield Canal is one of the most versatile and tranquil canals in England. Starting in Kidsgrove, the canal makes its way among rich pastures past historic places, such as Little Moreton Hall, Mow Cop, and Bosley Cloud. Pretty towns, such as Congleton, Macclesfield, and Bollington, give the area an interesting flair. Apart from a stop lock just north of Kidsgrove, the Bosley lock flight provides the only locks on the whole of the Macclesfield Canal. Delve into history with a visit to the Silk Museum in Macclesfield and wander along cobbled Church Street. Hillwalkers will love the footpaths that crisscross the countryside, with lots of them starting right at the towpath. A perfect example is Higher Poynton, which provides several footpaths into the National Trust estate of Lyme Park. The Middlewood Way, a traffic-free route that connects the towns of Macclesfield and Marple and is never far away from the canal, is another highlight of this waterway.

Highlights on the Grand Union Canal

Highlights on the Macclesfield Canal itself

Bosley Lock Flight on the Macclesfield Canal

Bosley Locks

Canal in Braunston

Snake Bridges

The Hatton lock flight with narrowboat

Lock free pound (to Budgworth Basin)

Bilsworth Tunnel on the Grand Union

Impressive Embankments

Map of the Canal

A map of the Macclesfield Canal below

Things to do near the Macclesfield Canal

Attractions on land near the Macclesfield Canal
Mow Cop Castle
Mow Cop Castle
Little moreton hall
Little Moreton Hall
Bosley Cloud
Bosley Cloud
Photo of bobbins from the macclesfield silk museum
Macclesfield Silk Museum
White Nancy
White Nancy
Middlewood way
Middlewood Way
Lyme Park house across the lake
Lyme Park

A full list of our available holidays on the Macclesfield canal for 2023:

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