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Nantwich River and Canal Trail

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Nantwich River and Canal Trail
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 23 Feb 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar0 Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guide
Cheshire,
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Nantwich River and Canal Trail
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guide boot Nantwich River and Canal Trail Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular waymarked walk from the market town of Nantwich in Cheshire. The walk heads out through the Riverside Park on the paths following the River Weaver before crossing farmland to join the towpath of the Shropshire Union Canal for the return leg.

The route is almost entirely flat with just a couple of gentle short gradients. There are several gates throughout plus a couple of sets of steps but no stiles. You will need to cross the railway at a crossing without signals so take particular care here. The riverside and canal-side paths are all well-made with stone and tarmac, but the section across fields in the middle of the walk can get very muddy in winter and after wet weather. The fields are likely to be holding horses, cattle and sheep so take care with dogs. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

The walk starts from the free open car park at the bottom of St Anne’s Lane, just off Welsh Row in Nantwich. Approximate post code CW5 5ED. (If this car park is full you use the car park near Nantwich Lake on the A530 and adjust the route accordingly). Nantwich rail station is a short walk from the start of the walk.

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Walk Sections

Start to Shrewbridge Road
Start to Shrewbridge Road

Start point: 53.0672 lat, -2.5259 long
End point: 53.055 lat, -2.5244 long

From the car park turn left down the tarmac footpath heading away from Welsh Row and signed as the Nantwich Riverside Loop (you will be following these signs all the way round the circuit). Keep ahead over the bridge across the river. Keep left at the fork to reach ‘Mill Island’ – the remains of the workings of Nantwich Mill which was used to grind corn and for the production of cotton. The fast flowing water in this section of the River Weaver drove the mill’s wheel.

Before you reach the road, turn right onto the tarmac path running immediately to the right of the river. Cross the bridge over the weir and a little further along you’ll reach a crossroads. Keep left here on the path with the river still on the left. At the T-junction turn left over the river footbridge and then turn immediately right on the path under the rail bridge.

As the tarmac path swings left away from the river, fork right onto the stone path which meanders alongside this quieter section of the River Weaver.

The River Weaver is more than 50 miles long and its source is in the Cheshire Hills near Peckforton Castle. From there it circles northwards, through Nantwich, on to Winsford and out to the Mersey.

Soon after passing by a pipe bridge across the river, you’ll meet the next junction. Keep straight ahead here on the path which passes between Nantwich Lake on the left and the River Weaver on the right. Cross the footbridge and bear right to follow the stone path to reach Shrewbridge Road.

Shrewbridge Road to Rail Crossing
Shrewbridge Road to Rail Crossing

Start point: 53.055 lat, -2.5244 long
End point: 53.0574 lat, -2.5331 long

Cross the road with care, but do NOT take the footpath ahead. Instead turn right over the road bridge and continue along the road’s pavement. 100 yards along (before you reach the driveway entrance to a house) cross over the road again to reach a metal gate set into a gap in the hedgerow. Pass through the gate and cross the centre of the field (likely to be holding horses).

At the far side cross the gate/bridge/gate combination to enter the next field (likely to be holding cattle). Go up the small hill ahead and then veer right to reach the right-hand boundary. Turn left to follow the full length of this boundary (ignoring the stile) to reach the vehicle gate in the far right hand corner.

Go through this gate into a small enclosure and out the other side through a small metal gate to reach the next field (likely to be holding sheep). Keep straight ahead along the left hand boundary of this field. At the far side you will reach the rail crossing.

Rail Crossing to Aqueduct
Rail Crossing to Aqueduct

Start point: 53.0574 lat, -2.5331 long
End point: 53.0693 lat, -2.5356 long

Cross the rail line via the multiple gates taking care to ensure there are no trains coming before you do so. At the opposite side keep straight ahead on a fenced section of footpath and follow the slightly raised section over a pond/wetland area. Go through the gate at the end of this section and keep ahead through the next field (likely to be holding cattle) along the left-hand boundary.

Pass through the gate at the far left corner and ahead you will see a road bridge over the canal. Do NOT cross the bridge, instead take the steps to the left to reach the canal towpath. Turn right under the bridge and follow the towpath with the canal to the left.

The various branches of the Shropshire Union Canal cross the counties of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. Their purpose is to link the canal system of the West Midlands to the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. The main line was the last major canal to be built in England – completed in 1835 it was the last major engineering project for Thomas Telford.

Pass under the next road bridge and continue for some distance. You will reach the aqueduct, a cast iron structure that carries the canal over a main road beneath.

Aqueduct to End
Aqueduct to End

Start point: 53.0693 lat, -2.5356 long
End point: 53.0678 lat, -2.5263 long

Cross the aqueduct and turn right down the steps to leave the canal towpath. At the bottom of the steps take the double pedestrian crossing to cross towards the school/college building with its distinctive wave-shaped roof. Keep straight ahead down the road signed to Wrenbury passing the entrance to the school/college on the left.

Follow the road (Welsh Row) admiring some of the older properties. On the way you will pass the old Methodist Chapel and the old Cheshire Constabulary buildings.

Nantwich as a settlement dates back to Roman times, when salt from the area was used for the Chester garrisons as a preservative and condiment. In fact, the second half of the town’s name is derived from ‘wych’ meaning brine spring. At its peak in the 16th century, the salt industry comprised more than 400 salt houses. The rich history of the town means it is still home to a huge number of large historic buildings from timber framed black and white Elizabethan homes to Georgian mansions.

About 200 yards before you reach the crossroads with traffic lights, look out on the right for the old Savings Bank building (dating back to 1846 with blue railings). Turn right here into St Anne’s Lane and you will reach the car park on the left.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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