The Bridgewater Canal runs from Leigh to Runcorn. It connects with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh. It is a masterpiece of 18th-century engineering, excavated by the brilliant self-taught machinist and engineer Brindley.
A notable feature of the canal is the Barton Swing Aqueduct, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways, across the Manchester Ship Canal. The 40 miles of the canal is unusual for having no locks along its length. And another feature is that the water in the canal at Worsley usually has an orange tint due to the water coming from the mines containing traces of iron ore.
At its peak, over 3 million tonnes of traffic used the Bridgewater Canal. Nowadays, it is a leisure waterway popular with many cruising boaters. This post will introduce more interesting facts about the Bridgewater Canal.
History of The Bridgewater Canal
The Duke of Bridgewater needed a canal from his Worsley mine to Manchester, 16 kilometers (10 miles) away. Worsley today has the appearance of a peaceful village. In it is heyday, it was a busy center of activity. The original idea was a regular canal with many locks. After scouting the geographical situation, the famous mechanic and engineer Brindley persuaded the Duke to allow him to build an artesian gravity canal through the Irwell Valley with an arched viaduct. The construction was completed in 1761; the highly successful canal penetrated the coalfields and halved the price of coal in Manchester. In 1776 the canal was extended 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Manchester to Liverpool. Its success helped inspire a period of intense canal building in Britain, known as Canal Mania. It later faced intense competition from the Liverpool, Manchester Railway, and Macclesfield Canal.
Introduction of the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal, a British canal now extending from Worsley to Liverpool, facilitated the cheap movement of coal into the city and thus helped fuel the Industrial Revolution in England. A short arm connects with the Trent and Mersey Canal at Preston Brook. An arm from Stretford runs to Manchester, connecting with the Irwell Navigation via Pomona Dock and the Rochdale Canal at Castlefield.
Bridgewater Canal SizeThe total length of the Bridgewater Canal is 66 kilometers (41 miles). And the main line of the canal, the length of the Bridgewater Canal that is navigable, is 45.2 kilometers (28.1 miles). The Leigh Arm is 10.8 miles and runs from Waters Meeting in Stretford to the Leigh Arm of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Leigh. The Preston Brook Branch is just 0.8 miles and connects to Trent & Mersey Canal. Across the two arms and the main line of the canal, there are no locks.
|Length||66 kilometers (41 miles)|
|Max. boat length||21.95 meters (72 feet)|
|Max. boat beam||4.5 meters (19 feet 9 inches)|
The Bridgewater Canal is famous for being the first built for the Duke of Bridgewater to take coal from his mines at Worsley, where there were more than 40 miles of underground canals on more than one level. Navigable throughout its history, the Bridgewater Canal is one of the few canals in Britain not to have been nationalized and remains privately owned. Pleasure craft now uses the canal, which forms part of the Cheshire Ring network of canals. The canal is deep, straight, and wide, and cruising can be pleasant and speedy.