Bridgewater Canal

Bridgewater Canal

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Many waterways in England and Wales require a licence to paddle. Check the licence section below to see if this is one. Save money on your licence and secure paddling insurance by joining British Canoeing. Use our easy step RapidJoin process. Open the slider to join.

Welcome to PaddlePoints Waterways. These pages focus on individual bodies of water across the UK. On this page you'll find a map, launches, routes, licensing information, paddle trail downloads, services, and more about one particular river or canal. For the full PaddlePoints with search bar follow this link.

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Canal Licensing Information

Further Information

The Bridgewater Canal Company Limited manage this waterway and British Canoeing members are covered to paddle here through their membership.

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-West 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.