Opened in 1761 and connecting Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh the Bridgewater Canal was commissioned by the third Duke of Bridgewater, Francis Egerton to transport his coal from Worsley to Manchester. The Canal is forty-one miles long and pleasure craft have been enjoying the stunning, surrounding scenery as they slowly drift past its banks since 1952. Starting at Worsley and ending up at Runcorn the Bridgewater Canal has connections to the Rochdale Canal, The Trent and Merseyside Canals, the Leeds and Liverpool Canals and the Manchester Ship Canal.
There is now a scheme to develop the Canal to make it easier for cyclists and walkers to access its towpaths, called the Bridgewater Way. The older residents of the nearby town of Bridgewater have welcomed the scheme as it will mean they too can utilise the towpaths with their friendly and professional Live in care Bridgwater. The new towpath will become part of the National Cycle and Footpath Network and will be around forty miles in length.
There were originally ten Lock gates to contend with situated at Runcorn but these have all been removed so Canal enthusiasts and their treasured crafts can now easily navigate the waterways. The Canal itself and the impressive stone aqueduct at Barton-Upon-Irwell were both considered major achievements in engineering as in some places the boats had to actually go underground! James Brindley was the man brought in to bring his technical expertise to the elaborate construction project and his forward-thinking ideas helped make the Canal what it is today.