Manchester Transport




The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal

The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal is presently
derelict, incomplete and un-navigable to boating. It originally ran
from Salford to Prestolee, between Kearsley and Little Lever, from where
one arm ran to Bolton and another to Bury. The 15 miles of canal had
17 locks, including 4 staircases locks.
Work started on the canal in 1791 and a link to the Leeds and Liverpool
Canal was originally planned, going westwards from Bolton to Red Moss,
near the present Reebok Stadium, crossing the ridge at Aspull to the
Leeds and Liverpool’s Wigan lock flight.
For many years the path of the canal had been abandoned and built over,
but thanks to the formation of a small local group of volunteers, the
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society was formed with the aim of
seeking ways of restoring the canal to full navigation once more. In
May 2002, partnered by British Waterways and others, plans to restore
the canal were launched.

Number 1 Lock in 1905Canal Towpath near Coney Green, RadcliffeElton Reservoir © MBBCS 2003

The full restoration scheme will cost about £32
million and could lead to the creation of up to 6000 jobs. An independent
study has shown that the restoration of 12 miles of the canal would
attract investment, employment, leisure and housing and lead to the
redevelopment of derelict so-called ‘brown field’ sites. The proposals
include a new visitor centre at Nob End in Little Lever.
A major step on the path to ensuring that restoration would be possible
came when extra funding was provided to enable a tunnel to be incorporated
into the construction of the new Manchester and Salford relief road.
This will make it possible for a navigable channel to be built below
this road when restoration gets under way.
If this had not been done, the canal would have been isolated from the
rest of the waterway system. The tunnel beneath the relief road means
that, when the canal is restored, Locks 1 and 2, originally next to
the junction with the River Irwell, will need to be relocated further
away from the river, probably on the other side of the railway.

The Pictures

We are indebted to Margaret Fletcher, Chairman of
the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society, for kindly supplying
the photographs shown on this web page, and whose Copyright © they

The MBBCS is a non-profit Distributing Company Limited
by Guarantee No 3074574.
Registered Charity No 104840.7. Tel &
Fax: 01204 844671.
Registered Office: 36 Trawden Avenue, Bolton, BL1 6JD.

The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society is
currently working with British Waterways, The Waterways Trust, Bolton
and Bury Metropolitan Borough Councils and Salford City Council to restore
the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal and link it to the national cruising

For more information as well as progress on the restoration
of the canal see the following websites:

  • (Official Website of the

See Also:

  • The Waterways Trust:
  • British Waterways:
  • Inland Waterways Association (NW Region):

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© John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 20 Nov 11.