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River Dee Branch, Shropshire Union Canal

Accessible to all craft kept on the connected inland waterways, although the river lock is gateless and requires restoration,

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit the River Dee Branch on the Shropshire Union Canal by boat or canoe.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller Location because it is little used and to support IWA’s campaign to restore the river lock. A photo of your boat in the vicinity of the lift bridge above the river lock would be a good proof of your visit.

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.


About the River Dee Branch

The Shropshire Union Canal is linked to the River Dee in Chester by a short branch canal; ¼ mile long with three locks plus the river lock. The original Chester Canal linking Nantwich to the River Dee opened in 1779 but suffered difficulties when Beeston staircase locks suffered a collapse in 1787.  The Ellesmere Canal boosted the fortunes of the Chester Canal with connections to the River Mersey at Ellesmere Port in 1797 and at Hurleston, in 1805.  The current connection to the River Dee, useable at all states of tide, replaced the original at the bottom of Northgate Locks when Chester Basin was constructed as part of the Wirral line.

[The photo shows the River Dee Lock, which locks down from the Branch to the River Dee  –  by John McKaigue]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: CH1 4DH

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Dee branch is:-

Length: 72′ 0″ (21.91 m)
Beam: 14′ 0″ (4.27m)
Height: 8′ 0″ (2.44m)
Draught: 4′ 1″ (1.24m)

There is nowhere for longer boats to turn within the Arm, so reversing back up the two locks may be necessary.  The branch is shallow, especially on the right hand bend below the second lock down.  The river is currently inaccessible.

Canoeing, Trip Boats and Hire Boats

Canoeing is encouraged on the Shropshire Union Canal with a Canal & River Trust licence or British Canoeing membership.

Small boats can be hired from Chester Boat Hire on the River Dee, but they can’t be taken off the river.  Chester Boat Company offers boat trips on the River Dee, but does not venture onto the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.  There are no trip boats or day boats in the vicinity that can be taken on to the Arm.

Challenge Location

River Dee Branch

Shropshire Union Canal

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