Walking, jogging and cycling along the canal is excellent exercise, but there’s something special about taking a trip on a boat. In many parts of the country, water buses and water taxis are starting to take some of the strain out of commuting by allowing people to avoid the traffic and enjoy a more unusual journey to work. Until last year, there was a water taxi service in Manchester and there are plans to introduce a similar service to Liverpool, but right now the best alternative in the north west is to embark on a trip aboard the Edwin Clark, the glass-sided boat that services the Anderton Boat Lift.
The Anderton Boat Lift was created to provide a connection between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal, creating a link despite the two waterways having a 50-foot height difference. The concept is fairly simple: two huge water tanks, also called caissons, with watertight sealable doors, carry boats up and down. The lift began operating in 1875 and was fully restored in 2002, when a visitor centre and café was also constructed. This magnificent contraption was voted 2018’s best large visitor attraction in a county award. There are also loads of things to see and do in the vicinity of the boat lift, such as exploring the village of Anderton or visiting the many nearby woods and nature reserves.
The Anderton Boat Lift is amazing to look at – it’s been dubbed the Cathedral of the Canals – but nothing beats the experience of using the lift for what it was designed for. That’s where the Edwin Clark comes in. The boat is named after the engineer who designed and constructed the Anderton Boat Lift and offers two types of trip – a 30-minute journey that allows you to use the lift, and a longer 75-minute trip that also takes you along the Weaver to Northwich and back again. Trips are scheduled to restart at the end of March following the winter closure, and they can booked up to two weeks in advance.
Canal & River Trust