Travelling East from Blackwater Meadow: A picturesque route with many suitable picnic spots but please note – no pubs! A short distance from leaving the Marina you will pass lush parkland lined with old oak trees. A legacy from a once thriving canal industry where raw materials were planted to replace their carrying fleet. The canal then enters the 87yd Ellesmere Tunnel and emerges into open parkland beyond. The navigation then runs alongside Blake Mere , a charming lake and a lovely place to have a picnic, possibly on your return trip as you will only have been cruising for around 30 minutes. Hidden from the canal by tall trees on your right you will pass Cole Mere Lake, another beautiful picnic spot with a circular walk. You will need to moor on the opposite side of the canal and cross bridge 54 into Yell Wood to reach the lake. The Meres were carved out during the Ice Age and have famously been called the mini lake district. Continuing ahead through the hilly, wooded landscape you will reach open countryside and after around 1.5 hrs cruising arrive at Hampton Bank. Hampton Bank is one of the Llangollen Canal’s lesser sung engineering achievements, carrying the canal perhaps 30ft above a headwater of the River Roden. Although you will not find any facilities to speak of, this is a great spot to stop, stretch your legs and take in the breathtaking views. Spot the hillside church at Bettisfield on your left as the canal now takes you towards Whixall Moss. A raised bog, rich in flora and insect fauna and an important site for rare plant life. As you approach Prees Branch you will have been cruising for roughly 3 hours (without stopping) and as the arm is wide it is a good place to turn and head back to the Marina. Travelling West from Blackwater Meadow: A beautiful return trip with the option of a pub lunch at the Narrowboat Inn! As you leave the Marina you will see a fine old warehouse and a small canalside crane, testament to the canal trading that used to take place on the Llangollen Canal. The canal rapidly escapes into empty countryside, skirting the playing fields of Ellesmere College. The main line of the canal to Llangollen bears round sharply to the south west as you pass farms and small villages such as Tetchill on your left. Val Hill is a tree-topped glacial mound picturesquely forcing the canal into an extra bend or two on its way to Welsh Frankton. South-east from the canal you can see Grinshill and in clear conditions the outlines of the Wrekin, Clee Hills and Wenlock Edge. Following the canal and continuing through Frankton Junction (you will not be able to cruise down the Montgomery Canal with our dayhire boats) you will cruise through quiet, beautiful green countryside. Passing under several bridges you will eventually reach Maestermyn bridge (5) where you will be able to moor and visit the Narrowboat Inn which has a nautical theme. You will now have been cruising for around 2 hours and will need to think about turning around, a suitable place for this is just after Pollets Bridge (6) where the canal widens. We are open all year round (apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) but due to bad weather we may need to cancel Bookings at short notice – customers would be offered a different date. Lazy Days – 10 persons, Cabin Heating, Toilet, Hot and cold water.
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