Approaching Snake Bridge on Macclesfield Canal

Despite the fact that bridges can set height restrictions for one’s boat, they are a beautiful and interesting facet of the waterways.
In 2007 we did a 14 day trip around the Cheshire Ring, on a hired traditional narrowboat. The Cheshire Ring is one of a number of circular routes that can be done on the UK canals.
This ring takes in the Macclesfield, Peak Forest,
Ashton, Bridgewater and Trent and Mersey Canals.
Have a look at Canal Junction for an overview of the canals.
The Macclesfield has a charm of its own, being probably one of the narrowest. It is also spanned by a number of snake bridges that are unique to this canal. They were designed to make it easy for the horse pulling a barge to cross over the canal without the bargee having to disconnect the towrope from the barge. The canal towpath only runs along one side of a canal, but does occasionally change sides. The towpath side of a canal is the public side, while the other is usually privately owned land.
The first picture show us approaching one of these bridges, and part of the S shaped path can be seen through the bridge. The path doubles back on itself and crosses over the canal.

Junction of the Macclesfield with Trent and Mersey Canals

The southerly end of the Macclesfield has a rather similar arrangement where it joins Trent and Mersey canal, but here it is the canal that crosses over itself.
Cruising south along the Trent and Mersey, one passes under the Macclesfield, up through 2 locks, makes a sharp right turn which is the start of the Macclesfield, and then, after a hundred metres or so, at another sharp right crosses back over the Trent and Mersey.

The second picture is looking down on the rather muddy Trent and Mersey from the bridge (or actually aqueduct) where the Macclesfield crosses over.

Lift Bridge on the Peak Forest Canal

The Cheshire Ring boasts a selection of fun bridges including 2 lift bridges and a swing bridge. The last picture shows my wife operating the manual bridge on the Peak Forest Canal, while I take the boat through.
The swing bridge is even more exciting. This one is on the Macclesfield canal and on a fairly busy road. It is fully electrically operated – by you!. Once you press the button to start the sequence, traffic lights flash to stop the traffic, a boom is lowered, and the bridge opens. You then make a leisurely passage through with the boat.

When clear of the bridge, you press the button to reverse the whole sequence, and eventually the traffic gets going again.

But more on the delights of the Cheshire Ring later…

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