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The Rochdale Canal - A Canal Boat Holidays information article.

Marina(s) : Anderton Marina

Length: 38 miles but only 7 miles navigable from the Llangollen Canal at Frankton Junction.
Locks: 8 (in this 7 mile section)
Aqueducts: 1.

Linked to: Aire and Calder Navigation, Bridgewater Canal

Forms part of the Pennine and Cheshire Rings

The Rochdale Canal was conceived in 1776, when a group of 48 eminent men from Rochdale raised £237 and commissioned James Brindley to conduct a survey of possible routes between Sowerby Bridge and Manchester. The Rochdale canal was the first of three Pennine crossings to be completed, the others being the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The Rochdale Canal crosses the rugged heights of the Pennines from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge. The Rochdale Canal re-opened to boats in 2002 after an ambitious volunteer restoration project that brought an end to more than 50 years without through navigation.

Things of interest on route

The Gauxhole Viaduct carries the railway line over the Rochdale Canal and is one of three self-contained cast iron arch railway bridges constructed as part of Stephenson's Manchester and Leeds Railway.

The Great wall of Tod is a huge brick construction rising out of one side of the canal. The wall supports the railway line against the step valley side as it enters Todmorden from Lancashire. It is said to have taken some four million bricks to construct.

Todmorton Lock is unusual in having a guillotine gate at its far end which is electrically operated. The lock is situated in the centre of the town of Todmorden immediately next to a bridge that carries the main road through the town. The road was widened in the 1920s and the gates were changed from the traditional style to guillotine style. These relatively rare lock gates raise the gates vertically and take up less space than usual.

The locks on the Rochdale Canal through the centre of Manchester are known as the "Rochdale Nine". During the period when most of the Rochdale Canal was closed these nine locks remained open to navigation forming part of the Cheshire Ring

With a fall of 19 feet 8.5 inches the Tuel Lane Lock is the deepest lock on the UK canal system.

When the canal was originally built it had 92 locks but now only has 91 locks. The former locks 3 and 4 were replaced with this single deep lock and is now numbered as 3/4.

The Piccadilly lock in the centre of Manchester is completely underground with office buildings constructed above it. The Rochdale Canal plunges into a mysterious underworld below the modern buildings of Piccadilly.

Littleborough is home to Hollingworth Lake which was originally built as a reservoir to supply water to the Rochdale Canal. It is now a popular water sports venue with a country park and nature reserve.

The highest point on the Rochdale Canal is the aptly named village of Summit and even more confusing the pub in Summit is called The Summit.

Places to visit

Sowerby Bridge - Two rivers and two canals form the heart of this fascinating mill town. Moor up and take a stroll along the tow path where the flower decked canal wharf boasts some of Britain's most authentic early millscapes. Explore the town and marvel in its selection of specialist shops and eating places. Follow the award winning sculpture trail and visit the solar powered market. Septembers Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival is not to be missed as it is unique to Yorkshire.

Hebden Bridge - Takes its name from the packhorse bridge over Hebden Water, the town developed in late medieval times as a river-crossing and meeting point of packhorse routes. Hebden Bridge enjoys a national reputation as a liberal, artistic and creative community with a cosmopolitan atmosphere more akin to larger towns. The town offers a good choices of places to eat and drink from award winning restaurants to the good old local pub.

Rochdale - Set beneath hills and wild moorland at the edge of the South Pennines the town is steeped in history and heritage. Rochdale is well known for its textile industries including cotton, silk and wool. The town holds daily indoor and outdoor markets and boasts two shopping centre's with many well known stores. There are also many specialised stores surrounding on Drake St, Yorkshire St, Cheetham Street and The Walk. The town comes to life at night and has a vast selection of clubs, bars and restaurants.

Oldham – Is located between Manchester and the glorious Yorkshire countryside and is renowned for its outdoor activities. Adventure enthusiasts young and old can try canoeing, rock climbing, hill walking, raft building and much more. The Spindles Town Square Shopping Centreis located right in the heart of Oldham and the award winning Tommyfield Marketis a bustling haven for bargain hunters. Oldham offers superb choice of restaurants, coffee shops, tea rooms and pubs to suit every occasion, mood and budget.

Manchester - Is one of the most vibrant city's in Europe and has something to offer every visitor. Experience the atmosphere of one of the country's most famous clubs, Manchester City visit the museum and walk in the footsteps of your footballing hero.

The Urbis Exhibition Centre has five floors of ever changing exhibits which offer an insight to the culture of this vibrant city. Visit The Lowry Centre which is set at a waterside location in the heart of the redeveloped Salford Quays. Shopping in the city is an experience like no other, label lovers or bargain hunters Manchester has it all.

Chinatown is one of the busiest and most colourful areas of city and is dominated by the Imperial Chinese Archway. Visit the many shops which offer a wide range of products especially from Hong Kong and Peking. Chinatown is filled with great many restaurants offering a real taste of the Orient. As you would expect in a major and cosmopolitan city you will find a huge range of places to eat and drink.

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