This under-rated and little-visited river deserves to be better known. Normally accessed by the Anderton Lift (a worthwhile experience in itself), a left turn at the bottom takes you upstream through Northwich, clustered around its two Victorian swing-bridges (which canal boats will not need swung), to Winsford flashes where navigation ends, despite several plans to link it through to the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.
A right turn takes you downstream through very pleasant and remote Cheshire countryside and some massive keeper-operated locks to the Manchester Ship Canal at Weston, near Runcorn. Although the final length is industrial, it offers much of interest to the enthusiast, along with its erstwhile extension, the Runcorn & Weston Canal. It is possible to navigate the Ship Canal to Ellesmere Port and thus create a cruising ’Ring’, but most boaters prefer to retrace their wake and enjoy a reprise of the river’s attractions.