Bridgewater Canal

Bridgewater Canal

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Canal Licensing Information

Further Information

The The Bridgewater Canal Company Limited manage this waterway and British Canoeing members are covered to paddle here though their membership.
Stand up paddleboards are not currently permitted on this waterway.

People often call the Bridgewater Canal the first true canal in Britain. And, just to be clear, it is nowhere near the town of Bridgewater in Somerset.

This North-East canal links Runcorn to Leigh along a 39-mile stretch. It provides a brilliant day out for walkers to cyclists, anglers, paddlers and pleasure boaters alike.

It was built over 250 years ago by the Duke of Bridgewater, famed as the ‘father of British inland navigation’. Its construction was for the transportation of goods during the industrial revolution.

At its peak, over 3 million tonnes of traffic used it, but you can breathe a sigh of relief. Those kinds of commercial traffic jams are a thing of the past! Ducks and geese are the most common users now of the canal.

Things to see on the Bridgewater Canal

Along this scenic route you will notice the Barton Swing Aqueduct which passes over the Manchester Ship Canal.

As you paddle along you will also spot the Barton Aquaduct, considered a significant feat of Victorian civil engineering.

It’s an area rich with country estates, both privately and publicly owned. These include Walton Hall & Gardens and the National Trust owned Dunham Massey. A great place to explore the area from a different viewpoint.

This canal is included in the waterproof Manchester trails maps. Click here to purchase.