Acton Bridge - Dutton Locks - Acton Bridge

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An absence of roads makes the lower Weaver Valley a peaceful place with abundant wildlife. The walk follows paths over fields, beside the River Weaver and along the Trent and Mersey Canal, the latter having surprisingly good views from its terrace above the river.

It is a particularly good walk in winter after a hard frost, when the occasional muddy stretches are firm and the bare branches allow good views.

Acton Swing-bridge, the locks at Dutton, the Weaver railway viaduct and the Trent and Mersey Canal add quiet elements of industrial archaeology to this rural corner.

The picnic tables by Dutton Locks (Waymark 17) make a good spot to pause and watch the world, or at least the odd bird, go by. will help you find out more about the River Weaver and its history as a waterway.

Walkers nowadays may have difficulty in imagining the large coasters that plied constantly between the ICI works in Northwich and the docks in Ellesmere Port or Liverpool until the 1970s.

Please be aware that as with most of Cheshire, this is cattle country, so some of the fields crossed by this route will probably have grazing herds in them. Also as is common round here, the paths can be very muddy. After wet weather, wellingtons may be preferred to walking-boots and gaiters.

England - North England - Cheshire - Canal Walk


Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Pub, Public Transport, River
12/14/2014 - Ian Dodd

Sorry to report that the Trent and Mersey canal has once again been breached at Dutton and the towpath is closed. Repairs expected to begin in January and finish by spring 2015 However you can complete this walk by continuing on the road at WM 23 up to the A533, turning right (there is a narrow footpath) and turning right down the entrance drive to Dutton Hall, to pick up a path which runs parallel to the canal and meets the original route at WM24. Still a lovely walk!

9/29/2014 - Andrew Edwards

Completed walk on 27/10/2014. Very nice walk with good and clear directions. The going underfoot was fairly dry, although I can see it would get very muddy during wet weather. The picnic spot with tables by Dutton Locks (WP17) is a good place to have a break and watch the locks in operation. The breach in the canal is fully repaired - complete with sign to note the centre of the breach. The tea rooms and farm shop at the start of the walk is quite expensive and also very busy, with people being turned away on Saturday afternoon,. Also a little posh if you are in your walking gear!

5/7/2013 - Philip Ingram

I checked the canal towpath stretch on 7th May 2013 and found it to have re-opened as promised. The engineering works are massive but will doubtless soon be covered by vegetation and look as 'natural' as the canal. As you walk along the new embankment, look down to see where the mud and water flowed when the breach occurred. I'm very glad I wasn't on the towpath then!

5/1/2013 - Philip Ingram

Thank you, Ann-Marie for alerting me to this. The canal bank carrying the towpath was washed away in September 2012 but I hadn't appreciated that the stretch involved was that used by this walk. There's a very good web page describing what happened and what has been done to fix it at Speaking with local staff on 30th April 2013, it appears that the towpath should re-open late on 2nd May. I hope to check this out soon afterwards. Meanwhile, I suggest turning right after crossing the locks at point 17, following the road across a handsome modern bridge built in traditional style. About 90 yards beyond, turn left at a footpath sign for Dutton. In about a quarter of a mile, the track crosses the canal. At this point, turn right to join the towpath. You are now roughly midway between points 23 and 24. When I checked the area on 30th April, the blackthorn, damson and plum blossom was well worth seeing.

4/28/2013 - Ann-Marie Entwistle

We attempted this walk at Easter this year but unfortunately we had to end the walk just past waymark 17. A local couple saw us reading the guide and working out where to go next just after we'd crossed the wooden bridge mentioned in waymark 17. They then proceeded to tell us the canal banking had collapsed just a little further down and we wouldn't be able to complete the circular walk.

5/3/2009 - Carl Brierley

Really enjoyed this walk, but if you want to add a tweek to it, if you carry on past bridge 210, to bridge 208, then take the path up onto the bridge and follow it to the right, the footpath drops you out on the road right by the 'horns' public house. Thanks again for uploading this walk. :-)

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28.6 Miles