As with many canals, the Aire and Calder navigation has a strong industrial heritage. This once heavily commercial waterway running from Leeds to Goole was once a hustling bustling industrial revolution super-highway.
Flowing to the River Ouse at Google, the canal once carried millions of tonnes of cloth, coal and agricultural products across the country. Nowadays, you can trace the 34 mile stretch of canal in relative peace and quiet.
As you paddle away from the busy city-hub of Leeds you will find ample places to stop for a picnic. But the industrial nature of the canal never really leaves you.
Facts about the Aire and Calder Navigation
This canal used to carry coal until as late as 2002. And today oil, sand and gravel remain key freights along the Aire and Calder Navigation.
While it is considered a river navigation, from Ferrybridge to Goole it is a constructed waterway. Some of the best engineering minds have worked on it. They include John Smeaton, William Jessop, and Thomas Telford, among others.
As mentioned above, paddlers should be aware that the the Aire and Calder navigation is still used by commercial vessels although not as often as it used to be.
These can produce significant wash so you should give way to the vessels and always stay to the right following the waterway code.