Anderton Boat Lift and Park, Cheshire

by Veronica

A lovely family Cheshire day-out today took us to Anderton Boat Lift. This is a remarkable fete of engineering and was quite unique when it was built.

Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire was built in 1875 and was designed as a 50ft lift to connect The Trent and Mersey Canal with the River Weaver. Both waterways were hives of activity but at Anderton goods were taken from boats on the Weaver up the hill to the Trent and from the boats on the Trent chuted or carried down the hill to the River Weaver.

This was not productive especially to the pottery makers Wedgwood who transported their goods by canal and sending them down a salt chute often broke the pottery.

An engineer named Edwin Clark had a solution; a hydraulic lift to lift the boats up or down 50 ft to its neighbouring waterway.

Today, I went to see it. It is a majestic piece of engineering and … I even went up in the boat lift!

All photos are my own.

Anderton Park

Before we went to the Boat Lift, we walked for an hour around the open parkland on an unusually sunny Cheshire day in April.  It was at its finest. The park is full of quirky details, with wood sculptures, bridges, amazing fungus, plants and animals such as hares and herons. 

Anderton Park

entrance to the nature park
entrance to the nature park

Above is a rather splendid nature sculpture depicting insects and flowers. Very clever 

Anderton Nature Park

one of many bridges
one of many bridges

Anderton Boat Lift

The Boat lift is fitted with two caissons which means small box and which can take a boat up or down the lift to the canal or River Weaver. The caisson is made of metal and has a metal door on the inside and outside of it. Originally it did not have two doors, just one. 

Engineer Edward Leader Wlliams wanted a hydraulic system of sending boats up and down for the interchange of goods at this very important transfer place. He chose designer Edwin Clark to plan it. 

Boat Lift

Boat lift
Boat lift


The boat lift opened in 1875 and worked quite successfully but within years it was needing to be closed in winter when the canal froze over and also Clark had not taken into account one very important factor about Cheshire and Cheshire life.

Cheshire, thousands of years ago, was founded on an inland salt sea. Our area is salty. The soil is still salty and the river water has a saltiness too. This meant that the metal columns on the boat lift had corroded within a few years. The salt problem had to be dealt with and by 1908 though the erosion problem was dealt with and also the lift started to be operated by electrical methods.

The Boat Lift fell into disuse and eventually was restored, opening in 2002. Today it is a popular visitor attraction in Cheshire. Now though, …  :) … the lift works by computer from the main office. 

It is very interesting to go in.  When it reaches the top, the caisson gate opens; the outer gate opens and the boat sails out into the Weaver Navigation or the Trent Canal. 

Boat lift gates

Boats enter these gates
Boats enter these gates

The metal doors at the bottom lift upwards. 

A view from the inside going up

Going up
Going up

The insect village

I have often pointed out Bee Hotels " which are so popular here in England but Anderton has " An insect village " :)  Look at this! 

Insect village !
Insect village !

To conlude

Finally, this isn't the cheapest day out around but we don't object to paying for a full day at a quality attraction. There were plenty toilets, a children's play area, lovely walks, a restaurant, a boat tour and of course... the Boat Lift. 

Today we spent £12.25 each for a full day out which in American money today 8th April 2019 would be approx. $16 each for a day out.  But it was money well spent on woodland walks, a boat trip along the river and going up in the boat lift. 

the boat lift- one caisson up, one caisson down
the boat lift- one caisson up, one caisson down
Updated: 04/08/2019, Veronica
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frankbeswick on 04/13/2019

There is a list of boat lifts on Wikipedia, but there are not many of them.

Veronica on 04/13/2019

Hello Mira
I think that there can't be many boat lifts around like this one. I have never seen one before. It is a marvellous piece of Victorian engineering.

Mira on 04/13/2019

I've never seen a boat lift before. Only seen sluices.

I like the photo with the insect village. The sign is so cute, and so are the sculptures :)

Veronica on 04/13/2019

It is quite a spectacular insect village.

frankbeswick on 04/13/2019

Yes,bee hotels serve solitary bees and certain other species, such s solitary wasps.

Veronica on 04/12/2019

Good morning Derdriu.
I think this village is mainly for single occupancy bees and other insects.
We need more insects in our world.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/11/2019

Veronica, Thank you for the tour and the photos. Do you know what wood the nature sculptures are made of? They look like they hold the paint beautifully. What insects would the village particularly have in mind of attracting?

blackspanielgallery on 04/09/2019

I have also heard of the same word origin.

frankbeswick on 04/09/2019

You are correct on this point about the etymology of the word salary.

Veronica on 04/09/2019

Regarding the Romans, the English word salary, is believed to come from Latin when Roman soldiers were paid in salt.

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