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The Four Counties Ring - The 4 Counties Ring

Four Counties Ring England - Cruising the 4 Counties Ring - We have cruised the Four Counties Ring twice, once clockwise, once anti-clockwise.

Dry dock at juntion of Calden and Trent and Mersey canals - Four Counties Ring EnglandThe four counties referred to in the name of this well cruised ring are Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire and West Midlands.

How long is the 4 counties ring? - The 4 county ring canal cruise covers about 110 miles and has 93 locks plus one tunnel just under 2 miles long and a couple of short ones. The ring should take around 50 hours cruising.

Canada goose - Four Counties Ring EnglandHire companies on the ring give their customers a week to complete the cruise. That means you would have to cruise on average just over 7 hours per day. For boat owners, we would say ten days to two weeks is a fast enough pace! That brings the cruising hours down to around 4 hours per day. A full month gives you chance to do some serious site seeing.

The canals you will cruise on the four county ring are:

The Staffordshire and Worcester Canal;
between Autherley Junction, Wolverhampton in the West Midlands to Haywood Junction, Great Haywood, in Staffordshire.
See Part 1 and Part 2

Trent and Mersey Canal; between Haywood Junction and Middlewich in Cheshire.

Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal; between Middlewich and Barbridge Junction, Wardle in Cheshire.

Shropshire Union Canal; between Barbridge Junction, Wardle, Cheshire and Autherley Junction, in West Midlands. Passing briefly through Shropshire.

Remote and scenic countryside - Four Counties Ring EnglandThe ring is mainly through remote and scenic countryside, with exception through the urban and industrial areas around the potteries of Stoke and Stafford. There are a few towns and villages that the cruise touches or passes through, such as: Stone, Kidsgrove, Middlewich, Nantwich, Market Drayton, Penkridge and Wolverhampton being the main ones - Wheaton Aston being one of the villages.

Picture of tug front narrowboatWe cruised the Four Counties Ring in 'Maid of the Mist' anti-clockwise between Saturday 14th May and Sunday 22nd May 2005, with an additional two days Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May when we cruised from Otherton, near Penkridge to Stone. Making our cruise 11 days in total. A really good time was had by all! Our eldest daughter joined us for three days of the cruise between Sandbach, Cheshire and Market Drayton, Shropshire.

Anglo Welsh at Norbury Junction - Four Counties Ring EnglandIf you are hiring a boat then the starting point can be anywhere on the circuit where there is a hire company. If you are an owner you can join the circuit at one of the seven junctions along the way.


However you cruise this circuit you are guaranteed to love it!