Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
August 6, 2002
The canal was constructed in the 18th Century to carry coal from the Duke's mines in Worsley into Manchester. It now has three junctions with other canals, the main branch linking with the Trent and Mersey at its southern terminus near the M56 at Preston Brook and with the Rochdale at the Castleford basin. Then there is another branch which avoids Manchester to run to Leigh where it links with the Leeds-Liverpool. This branch is where the Barton Swing Aqueduct over the Manchester Ship Canal is located.
The mile of the Rochdale Canal from Castlefield to where the Ashton Canal leaves it was the only stretch of the Rochdale navigable in Manchester for many years and was only kept open at one stage by some canal buffs getting a contract for a bit of factory waste disposal [It could not be closed while used for commercial purposes!] Th stretch was vital for the Cheshire Ring, which I have only seen on the parts common to the South Pennine Ring [see other page] and at Marple.
The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal provides some pretty stretches but as yet is nowhere near fully restored and only really of interest to enthusiasts or walkers.
Lastly we come to the once mighty Manchester Ship Canal which carried massive ships through fields and urban areas into Salford Docks. It now runs between the Lowry Centre and the Imperial War Museum. The canal is still completely navigable and is in considerable use. Mersey Ferries run occcasional trips [expensive but worth it for practical industrial archeology nearly all the way] and their timetable for this year can be found on this site.
You can also find a fine account of the trip with pictures on this site.
From journal Roman times to 21st Century