Come and enjoy the beauty and history of the River Weaver and its tributaries! Here are our top recommendations, according to your preferred activity. Points of historic interest are included in the Boaters section at the bottom.
Family day out
Drive to the Anderton Visitor Centre (check its open first if you want to go into the centre). Park at the centre (there is a small charge), visit the centre (explanatory display, café, shop) and watch the boats. For younger children, enjoy the boat-themed playground and invent a game in the maze of giant weights. Buy an ice cream, walk along the canal, use the picnic tables by the canal or river and explore many excellent walks. It is also easy to walk to Northwich along the river (30 mins).
Or come to the Weaver for a picnic. There are riverside picnic tables at Anderton; near the mooring 500m downstream of the Leigh Arms and at Dutton Lock.
Paddle craft visitors
- From the Leigh Arms: There is a pub car park and parking on the lane and a mooring. Launch your paddle craft from the grassy slope next to the pub car park. If you have enough time, head upstream towards Saltersford Lock. After the lock cottages come into view, paddle under the footbridge for a short beautiful stretch (see pic at top) up the the sluice gate, or turn right onto the old river just before the lock and paddle upstream a mile or so to Owley Wood, Weaverham, and beyond.
- From Anderton: you will have a carry your craft down the track at the river side of the car park to the river to launch. From there. up upstream and explore Witton Brook, or go farther, onto the River Dane in Northwich just after the first bridge.
See the boating section below for more information on the river.
There are many river and canal walks. Start at Anderton, the Leigh Arms (see above) or Barnton. From the Leigh Arms:
- Head downstream on tarmac and turn right at the public footpath to canal bridge 211 then follow the towpath to the Black Prince base (ice cream for sale). Then down the lane back to the pub (past Davenports tea rooms). Allow an hour excluding any refreshments.
- Or stay on the tarmac, past the new Archimedes Screw, to Dutton Lock, where there is some information on the lock. For a longer walk, continue up the footpath to Action Bridge and circle back through the village; or along the footpath to Pickerings (the old limit of Navigation), doubling back along the lane to Acton Bridge.
- Or head upstream to Saltersford lock, follow the track up to the canal, then back along the canal over the tunnel, turn back to the Leigh Arms down the lane from bridge 207; or footpath from bridge 208; or from the Black Prince base (see above).
You could drive to Barnton and down a narrow lane to Saltersford tunnel or lock. Follow the loop above or for a shorter walk, take the towpath upstream, past the Barnton Moorings, then up a footpath to a farm and back down the track to the tunnel entrance and lock.
There are lots of cycle routes that include part of the river towpath. National Cycle Route 5 includes the tarmac path to Dutton Lock. A shortish circular route is the walking route above to Pickerings and then turn left up the lane, under the railway to Acton Bridge. Straight on when you reach the village then left at the triangle down Strawberry Lane and the steep Acton Lane back to the Leigh Arms.
You are likely to visit the Weaver by descending the Anderton Boat Lift. Book online with CRT (£5 admin charge if you have a full CRT Licence) or turn up on spec (free but you might have to wait for a slot). It is also possible to arrive from or leave onto the Manchester Ship Canal at Marsh Lock; this is an interesting experience but Peel Holdings require an extra certificate and fee.
You can also have a sneak preview of the Weaver by walking down from the Trent and Mersey at Anderton; or moor between the two tunnels and walk down to Saltersford; or down the footpath to the Leigh Arms from Bridge 208 (there is mooring either side of the bridge).
Do check on CRT stoppages that any locks you plan to use are fully operational. There have been issues especially at Vale Royal and at Saltersford. The locks are manned, you can just turn up but best to phone the lock when you have an ETA. CRT has a Boaters Information leaflet.
Assuming you are coming down the lift, you can of course turn left towards Northwich or right towards Saltersford Lock. If time allows, definitely do both. In any event, sound your horn as you approach the river proper.
Upstream to Winsford
Turning left takes you immediately to extensive pontoon moorings where you can pause to walk, visit the centre or walk back to the canal to the Stanley Arms. Its will take about 20 minutes to cruise past Witton Brook and up to the secure Baron’s Quay mooring next to the Odeon Cinema, near Asda and behind MacDonalds. If this is full, continue past the CRT station (pump out, water), under the bridge and moor on the other side of the river. There are a range of restaurants and pubs and masses of cafes if you want a good breakfast. Weaver Hall Museum and workhouse is worth a visit if that’s an area of interest.
Continuing upstream takes you past the historic Navigation Yard with its clock tower and crane. Then past many historic boats as you approach the dry dock and Hunts Lock. You could wind at Hunt’s Lock or continue through the lock to Vale Royal Lock (15 mins). Watch our for rowers emerging from the left when you leave Hunt’s Lock.
Shortly after Vale Royal, there is a beautiful rural mooring. Walk back from here to the old river and site of Vale Royal Abbey. From the lock, it’s an hour or so to the Red Lion in Winsford, where you can moor, or continue under the two bridges to the (free) mooring basin at the beginning of the lake, Winsford Flash. Go no further – you are liable to run aground. There is a Morrisons up the road from the Red Lion on the same side of the river.
Downstream to Weston Point
Once you are past Tata Chemicals and various old wharfs where new houses are being built, the river become increasingly beautiful. Keep right at the sluice gates before the road bridge. Saltesford Lock is about 30 minutes. Occasionally there are boats moored in odd spaces but if you want to moor, keep going to Barnton Mooring, a long area of cut grass with a bench. Its a favourite mooring. At Saltersford, there is a pontoon holding mooring on the left bank and also space to moor on the right bank.
Immediately after Saltersford Lock there is space to moor at the far end of the holding mooring. Don’t try to moor outside the Riverside pub, it’s very shallow. After 25 minutes or so, immediately after the Swing Bridge at the Leigh Arms there is water and mooring for about 3 boats (see pic looking upstream), another space 500 metres further, and again before at Dutton Lock on the right bank (see pic in the Walkers section).
Beyond Dutton Lock and the railway viaduct, there are a few houses at Pickerings Wharf, the old limit of navigation, and then the river is particularly beautiful with hills and woods. “Devil’s Garden” is a favourite secluded mooring spot.
As the valley widens out you pass the old line of navigation to the now disused Frodsham Lock which joins the River Weaver and Frodsham. We are campaigning for this to be restored. There is water and mooring at Sutton Swing Bridge. The Navigation continues as Weston Canal to Marsh Lock. Lock down to the Ship Canal for Ellesmere Port or Liverpool via the massive Eastham Lock and Mersey Estuary, ensuring you have paperwork and bookings in place. Or moor just past the lock and explore on foot for views of the River Weaver, Ship Canal, Mersey and Liverpool. The Navigation continues for just over a mile to Weston Point.