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A canal ring is the name given to a series of canals that make a complete loop.
Origin of the term
While there have been canals which formed a ring for centuries, the "ring" terminology was unknown before the 1960s, when it was coined by the Inland Waterways Association as part of its campaign to save the Ashton Canal and Peak Forest Canal from closure as part of the Cheshire Ring.
Working boatmen of old were concerned with getting from A to B as fast as possible, or for the lowest toll, rather than in visiting more of the system, and what are now known as "rings" were simply alternative routes to them. However, with the growth in the use of canals for leisure purposes, circular routes offered the leisure boater an opportunity to see twice as much of the system as was possible with an "out and back" cruise. Hire companies are keen to promote their proximity to popular cruising rings.
Since the Cheshire Ring was born, ever more rings (and variants of them) have been created. The best known are those that can be completed in one or two weeks, although some three-week rings (such as the Outer Pennine Ring) have been given names, and there are innumerable other possibilities for cruising the canals so as to never cover the same water twice that are unnamed.
See also Canals of Great Britain
- Cheshire Ring
- Four Counties Ring
- Warwickshire ring
- The Thames Ring / Great Ring
- South Pennine Ring
- North Pennine Ring
- Outer Pennine Ring (Combines the North and South Pennine rings, omitting the section of the Rochdale canal that they share)
- Yorkshire Ring (Currently incomplete)
- Stourport Ring
- Avon Ring
- Leicestershire Ring
- Mid-Worcestershire Ring
- Wessex Ring
- North Thames Ring
This ring is only possible when the Wilts and Berks Canal, Thames and Severn Canal and the North Wilts Canal are fully restored.
- Staffordshire and Birmingham Ring
- Cotswolds Ring
- Severn Ring
- "The Cheshire Ring". Jim Shead's Waterways Information. Retrieved 2007-08-22.