CUSTODIANS of part of Cheshire’s proud engineering heritage are offering a rare opportunity to experience it from an insider’s point of view.  

The Anderton Boat Lift, known by some as ‘Cheshire’s Cathedral of the Canals,’ is a scheduled historic monument which carries around 3,000 boats between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the River Weaver Navigation each year.

The lift’s operators, waterways and wellbeing charity the Canal & River Trust, were forced to shut down operations in August last year, when a safety mechanism in one of its gates failed due to a broken 'shoot bolt bracket'.

With repairs approaching completion, bosses at the charity have decided to take advantage of the closure to invite waterways enthusiasts and the public to go behind-the-scenes at a special free open day.   

Northwich Guardian: The lift is scheduled to reopen fully in March 2023 (Canal and River Trust)The lift is scheduled to reopen fully in March 2023 (Canal and River Trust) (Image: Canal and River Trust)

Canal & River Trust director for the northwest, Daniel Greenhalgh, said: “We are delighted to host a special behind-the-scenes open day at Anderton this February.

“It will provide visitors with a rare insight into the constant challenge of keeping the Victorian boat lift operational.

“We will also be sharing information about plans for our new ‘Engineering the Future’ project which we hope to start in autumn 2024, subject to funding.

“This will provide a much-needed overhaul of the lift, to give it the care and protection required to secure its longer-term future.”

Visitors can expect to hear specialist talks from engineers and ecologists about the importance of the boat lift and the region’s canal network. 

They can also choose from a range of free exciting activities, including angling taster sessions, canoeing, children’s engineering sessions and building bug hotels to support wildlife. Boat trips will also be available.

Dan added: “Since the Anderton Boat Lift reopened as a major visitor attraction in 2002, it has become a firm favourite on the tourist trail, as well as bringing a significant boost for the local economy.

"We believe waterways have the power to make a difference to people’s lives and that spending time by water can make us all healthier and happier."