Rochdale Canal Reviews
Plentiful variety in 33 miles Dec 09, 2010
The Rochdale Canal is as beautiful and interesting as any in England but many from the south never see it, because if they own or time-share canals, it is probably too far for them to reach in the time they have available.
This was the first canal through the Pennines and provided a far shorter link between Lancashire and Yorkshire than the Leeds/Liverpool. One end is in Manchester where it links with the Bridgewater and Ashton canals. The other, 33 miles away links with the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge, now part of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. The website has a photo of the first trans-Pennine railway crossing the Rochdale less than three miles from my home.
Obviously the canal runs through urban areas in Manchester and Rochdale but it also runs through vaguely agricultural land between them and through fine wooded countryside in the Calder Valley. It has 91 locks, of which some are guillotine type.
It is worth reading something of the history. Opened fully at the beginning of the 19th century it was closed in the middle of the 20th. At a later stage, not to the delight of the canal company, a single mile was open, which formed part of the 'Cheshire Ring', then the most expensive canal mile in England!
I remebr commenting to a canal buff in the 1970s about plns for its reconstruction, to get the answer, 'Not a chance in our lifetime.' He gave me good and convincing reasons of why that was so - but it has been open for some time now, making the reconstruction almost as interesting as the original construction.
Part of the list England - (Yorkshire + Devon + Cornwall)
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