A BRAND new marina at Church Minshull opened this month and is expected to attract hundreds of visitors to the area.

The 147-berth Aqueduct Marina is located six miles from Nantwich on the Shropshire Union Canal and has already taken bookings for more than a hundred berths from boat owners.

The marina is two locks from both the Trent and Mersey and the hugely popular Llangollen Canal, giving boat owners excellent access to hundreds of miles of the region's waterways.

After running Church Minshull Canal Boat Storage on his 100-acre farm for two years, Aqueduct Marina owner Robert Parton has now swapped dairy farming for the boating community.

He said: "It was a British Waterways engineer, fixing a local bridge, who pointed out just what a great location this would be for a marina.

"We are on the outside of a bend, with clay ground and in the middle of an extensive network of canals. "With the popularity of the waterways increasing it was not a hard decision to make.

"We are aiming to make this a friendly, welcoming marina designed for today’s boaters, with wireless broadband connections to all berths and comfortable, modern facilities including a café and shop.

"The boatyard is fully equipped with slipway, trailer, hard standing area, chandlery and workshops, along with on site boat repair services, painters, welders and fitters."

Nigel Sheppard, general manager at British Waterways New Marina Unit, added: "Boat ownership has been growing year on year, and there is a significant shortfall in the number of inland marina berths.

"Despite a recent increase in the number of new marinas being opened, there is still a need for a further 7,000 new marina berths over the next seven years."

Robert teamed up with Cheshire-based surveyor’s Denton Clark to complete the project.

The firm's Chris Stringer said: "We have worked with Robert through the successful design, planning and construction stages.

"It is great to see the marina completed and filling up with narrowboats."