Bridgewater Canal

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Manchester, England

Bridgewater Canal Manchester Reviews

spidermiss spidermi…
254 reviews
The Bridgewater Canal Jan 30, 2017
The Bridgewater Canal was constructed by the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, Francis Egerton, in 1761. It is considered the canal of canals! The original purpose of the canal was for the Duke's coal to be transported efficiently and cheaply from his mine at Worsley to nearby towns and cities.

The 39 mile canal stretches from Runcorn to Leigh from/to Manchester's Castlefield Basin. The original purpose of the canals was for the Duke's coal to be transported efficiently and cheaply from his mine at Worsley to nearby towns and cities.

Today the canal is used as a leisure waterway and attracts walkers and cyclists unlike the other canal the Bridgewater Canal has no locks. My plan is to walk the whole canal including the Leigh branch.
Bridgewater Canal, Manchester
Bridgewater Canal, Manchester
Bridgewater Canal, Manchester
Bridgewater Canal, Manchester
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sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Bridgewater Canal Jun 05, 2012
The Bridgewater Canal runs from Manchester to Runcorn. Long sections of the towpath are open to the public, including the full length of the canal from the basin in Deansgate out to Sale and Altrincham in the suburbs. Parts of it are very pleasant places to go for a walk. I’m hesitant to give it too many stars as other stretches of its length go right through the enormous industrial estates at Trafford, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the stretches out at Sale and Altrincham are lovely. There are some nice restaurants and bars at Sale that border onto the canal where, on the rare North Western sunny days, you can eat or drink in the sunshine. This is important, because nice beer gardens are scarce in central Manchester and on the few days it gets hot, the city gets sticky.

The path from Manchester to Altrincham runs parallel with the tram line, meaning that you can walk as far as you like and then catch a tram when you get tired. The path out at Altrincham and Sale mostly runs along a canal that’s been maintained as a pleasant water way, used by houseboats and tourist boats, and almost indistinguishable from a river bank in most places. There is plenty of wildlife this far out, including herons, and the canal skirts some parks for children.

Closer in, the canal moves into Trafford Park and has more scars from its industrial past. If you look closely, you can see the groves that tow ropes wore into the canals, and loading bays from old factories along the route. It also passes the massive Manchester United stadium, and you can see Salford Quays with the Imperial War Museum North and the new BBC studios if you detour a bit. Even the industrial sections are fascinating, though, with the canal providing an artery for wildlife. Last time I was there, there were even some orchids, the kind that mimic bumblebees.

The canal is gradually being transformed into a long distance path, the Bridgewater Way. There is a lot of work to be done and the paths only stretch along parts of the canal at the moment, but it should be nice when it’s finished. Unfortunately, there is a lot of litter on the parts of the path that are least loved, and some graffiti as you approach Old Trafford Stadium. This is a shame. That said, the canal doesn’t run through any really rough parts of town and you wouldn’t be unsafe there in the daytime (personally, I wouldn’t walk any of it after dark, but that’s because it’s unlit and slippery as much as anything else).

Access is certainly good enough by buggy, although it might be tricky for people with mobility problems in places. I wouldn’t recommend the stretch through Trafford to tourists, because it’s heavily industrial, but the more open and green stretch out at Sale and Altrincham is a lovely place for a walk and easily accessible by tram.
Canal bridge near Man United Ground
Ox-eye daisies in the most industr…
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
westwind57 says:
It is always surprising, sich green places in the middle of industrial areas. In fact, I have seen industrial areas in Germany that - after having beel cleaned up from the worst part of pollution - have been "left to nature" again and this creates something interesting because the industrial past is also part of history :)
Posted on: Jun 14, 2012

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