THE three towns of mid Cheshire are joining forces to make the most of their waterways.

Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich town councils have started working together to promote the Weaver Valley as a tourist destination and think the canal and river network is the key.

Dignitaries and business leaders embarked on hotel boat the Wandering Duck to explore the potential of the network as a unique transport link between the towns as well as its tourism value.

Chris Shaw, Northwich Town Council clerk, said: “Basically we want to promote the Weaver Valley and the three towns.

“We could organise weekend trips in the summer between Middlewich, Winsford and Northwich.

“The other thing we are looking at down the canal is a bike trail from Middlewich to Northwich, just to join everything up really.”

The Wandering Duck is based at the edge of Derbyshire so mid Cheshire’s Trent and Mersey Canal was a new experience for owners Mark Bratt and Ruth Seneviratne-Bratt.

Mark said: “It’s the first time we’ve been here and the canals here are just beautiful, then there’s the Anderton Boat Lift, which is one of the biggest features of the canal anywhere in the country.

“You don’t have to go far from Middlewich and you’re in the middle of nowhere.

“Then there’s all the salt works and industrial stuff, it’s completely different in such a short journey.

“You go from the middle of nowhere to industry and all surrounded by reasonably big towns ¬– it’s such a nice mix of stuff in such a short space.”

Town leaders hope that if the waterways become a tourist destination it will encourage visitors to stop off in the three towns and make the most of attractions like the boat lift and the Lion Salt Works.