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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Runcorn & the Bridgewater Canal

The Bridgewater Canal is just a short distance from my home in Runcorn, UK, and we often walk along the canal towpath with our little dog, Sam. The photograph above was taken from the Waterloo Bridge at 'Top Locks'. The towpath, which is privately owned by the Manchester Ship Canal Company, is 39 miles in length altogether, although we don't take Sam along the whole length! I love the serenity of the water, which evokes a quietness within you as you walk along the path. 
The first section of the canal between Worsley and Stretford was opened in 1761 the remaining lengths of canal were completed some years later. There are many reminders of days long past if you know what to look for, these range from towing lines that have scoured grooves in the bridge abutments made when horses regularly towed barges and horse steps, places where horses and cattle could be removed from the canal after they had fallen in.
Many architectural features still remain including the packet boat steps at Worsley and Stockton Heath (canal bus stops in days past when travelling by road was difficult if not impossible at times), to original hump back canal bridges and turnover bridges (where the towpath changes sides necessary to transfer the tow horse from one bank to the other safely) and winding holes - places where longer boats can turn.

There are several bridges along the way to carry the roads across the waterway. This one is known as the Doctor's Bridge.
Fishing on the Bridgewater Canal is licensed to a number of fishing clubs. Various fish are found in the canal requiring different skills and knowledge fish include Rudd, Roach, Carp, Perch, Bream, Tench and Pike.
Details of angling membership and or day tickets where applicable may be obtained from:-

The tow-path is well maintained along its length, making the walk a very pleasurable one. 

A Brief History
The Bridgewater Canal is sometimes described as England’s first canal.
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, the Bridgewater Canal was the forerunner of canal networks.
Opened on 17th July 1761, the Bridgewater Canal has a special place in history as the first canal in Britain to be built without following an existing watercourse, perhaps more importantly it was used as a model for those that followed it.
Affectionately known as the “Dukes Cut” the Bridgewater Canal revolutionised transport in this country and marked the beginning of the golden canal era followed from 1760 to 1830

You can find out much more by visiting the Bridgewater Canal website 

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