Restoration of the long derelict Huddersfield Narrow Canal was completed on 1st May 2001, and is now fully open between Ashton’s Portland Basin and Huddersfield in Yorkshire, exactly 57 years after its closure. It runs a total of 32 km or 20 miles from Ashton, where it connects with the Cheshire Ring (sometimes known as the Pennine Ring) and rises over some 70-odd locks through the Pennine hills into Yorkshire.
Draught horse-drawn narrowboat; Cruises on the canal at Uppermill; Tunnels and bridges in Stalybridge town centre; Narrowboat on the Huddersfield Canal near Saddleworth
It has been the subject of one of the most arduous and exciting restoration projects in the country, as a result of a partnership between British Waterways, the Huddersfield Canal Society and local boroughs of Tameside, Oldham and Kirklees, as well as funding from the Millennium Commission Lottery Project fund. The Huddersfield Canal Company had been formed by volunteers in 1974, despite a great deal of opposition, not least from local authorities. Whole tracts of the canal, particularly at Stalybridge, had been filled in and built over. Some of the most expensive and dramatic reconstructions have taken place here, as the canal has had to be raised and lowered by locks through the centre of the town as it passes through on its way to Uppermill and Saddleworth. The cost of the restoration was supported by Grant from the National Lottery Funds as a recognised Millennium Project. Many parts of the canal are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) for their rare species of birds and plants. There are several tunnels on the canal, but most imposing is the infamous Standedge Tunnel, boasted as the “highest, longest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain”. A unique feat of 19th century engineering, the tunnel was cut through hard Pennine rock with little more than picks, shovels and hammers, and over 50 men lost their lives creating its 3½ miles (5200M). The nearby Standedge Visitor Centre has exhibits for the public and acts as administration centre for the tunnel, which is at present a toll tunnel, and some £35 has to be paid for the privilege of sailing through in one direction. For all Standedge Visitor Centre enquiries telephone 01484-844298, or visit the website at www.standedge.co.uk
To keep abreast of events on the Huddersfield Canal, to work as a volunteer, to join or make a donation, contact:
While every care has been taken in the compilation of these listings to ensure their accuracy, the authors cannot guarantee that information has not changed since publication, nor can Papillon Graphics be held responsible for errors contained herein. Please contact the Webmaster to report any out-of-date information, or to suggest any new data that may be relevant for consideration for inclusion in appropriate listings.