Because it takes approximately a week to complete, it is suited to narrowboat holidays which start and return to the same location. The route has 92 locks and is long. It offers a contrast between the city centre of Manchester, views of the Peak District, and the Cheshire Plain.
With the decline of commercial carrying after the Second World War, the sections of the Rochdale, Ashton and Peak Forest Canals, which make up the urban part of the ring had gradually fallen into disuse, and by the early 1960s were impassable, with little depth of water, and many locks in an unusable condition.
There was a grave risk that the canals would be abandoned, and infilled, as they were becoming a stinking eyesore. Perseverance by the IWA and the Peak Forest Canal Society eventually paid off, and on 1st April 1974, following restoration, the ring was re-opened to navigation.
The Rochdale Canal (unlike most other canals in England) was not nationalised in 1947, and remained in the ownership of the Rochdale Canal Company. Both the Rochdale Canal and Bridgewater Canal had escaped nationalisation as a result of being wholly owned subsidiaries of the Manchester Ship Canal company.
In 2002, as part of the restoration of the Rochdale, ownership of the Rochdale Canal Company passed to the Waterways Trust, and British Waterways became the navigation authority, thus bringing to an end the £35 toll that had hitherto been charged to use the one mile section through Manchester, and which had deterred some boats from attempting the ring.
NEW KID on the Lock; It Looks Daunting but It's as Easy as Riding a Bike. EVA KETLEY Enjoys a Weekend Break on the Cheshire Ring, and Takes to Canal Boating like a Duck to Water
Jun 27, 2010; Byline: EVA KETLEY CRUISING the canal at sunset through woodlands and fields, glass of wine in hand and with no sign of traffic...