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Canal Boat Holidays

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The Bridgewater - A Canal Boat Holidays information article.

Marina(s) : Anderton Marina

Length: 39 miles
Aqueduct: 1

Linked to: Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Rochdale Canal, Trent and Mersey Canal

Forms part of the Cheshire Ring with Ashton and Peak Forest Canal, Macclesfield Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal

Known as the "Dukes Cut" the canal was named after it’s owner, Francis Egerton the third Duke of Bridgewater who built the Canal to transport coal from his mines at Worsley to the industrial areas of Manchester. Built by James Brindley it was opened in 1761 when the Bridgewater Canal revolutionised transport in this country and marked the beginning of the golden canal era.

Things of interest on route

A statue of The Duke of Bridgewater stands on the green at Worsley which was once a busy industrial complex and included warehouses as well as boat makers, wheelwrights and nail makers. The clock in St Marks Church strikes thirteen because workers blamed the fact that they could not hear the clock strike one and so returned late to work. The Duke had the mechanism of the clock altered so that it struck thirteen instead so the strikes could be heard above the noise of the workshops in the yard.

Cruising from Worsley you will encounter a sight not often seen on inland waterways – a lighthouse. It may be 30 miles from the coast but this now famous landmark and folly stands on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal at Salford.

Castleford Junction is where the canal joins the Rochdale Canal and has been extensively redeveloped in recent years. It is something of a tourist attraction as it is where you pass directly by The Theatre of Dreams (Old Trafford). Home to Manchester United football club since 1910 take a tour of the grounds the trophy rooms and training areas.

It is quite unusual to have one canal crossing another but Barton Swing Aqueduct is a construction whereby a section of the Bridgewater Canal is taken over The River Irwell on a swing bridge. When closed it allows canal boats to pass over it on the Bridgewater Canal but when large vessels need to pass underneath it swings open.

There is an island half way across and it is from here that the 1,450-tonne iron trough is rotated 90 degrees from the control tower. A gate at each end of the trough retains around 800 tonnes of water and further gates on each canal bank retain the water in the adjacent stretches of canal.

For a truly memorable day catch one of the Mersey ferries and travel for 35 miles along the Manchester Ship Canal. The cruise includes a commentary revealing some interesting facts about the history and the dramas of one of Britain’s major waterways. The trip includes a stop over at Salford Quays giving you time to visit The Lowry Centre and The Imperial War Museum.

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Canal boat holidays, the fastest way to slow down!

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