Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

Two Roses ring

Lancashire and Yorkshire are brought together in a combination of canal and river navigations centering on the Pennines.

Skipton canal basin

About the Two Roses ring

Duration27 days cruising - give or take a few tea stops along the way
Distance in miles183
Number of locks214
Waterways in this ringAire & Calder Navigation Calder & Hebble Navigation Leeds & Liverpool Canal Rochdale Canal Bridgewater Canal (The Bridgewater Canal is owned and operated by the Manchester Ship Canal Company)

From the Bridgewater and Leeds & Liverpool Canals along the Aire & Calder and Calder & Hebble Navigations and returning via the Rochdale Canal, the Two Roses Ring is an compelling mix of fascinating history, impressive engineering and spectacular countryside. It is also one of the few rings suitable for wider beamed boats.

The Castlefield area of Manchester was populated by Romans as early as AD79. Supplies were brought via the River Irwell, utilised hundreds of years later in the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. The modern Outdoor Events Arena is Romanesque and its canvas covers dangle over the canal arms. Nearby Liverpool Road Railway Station, built in 1830, is the oldest in the world and so Castlefield can claim to be at the forefront of not only the canal revolution but the ensuing railway one also.

The Bridgewater Canal meets the Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Leigh. The high embankments are indicative of subsidence. At Wigan the Leeds & Liverpool rises through 21 locks and runs flat for several miles to Johnson’s Hillock Locks. The derelict Walton Summit Branch was originally the line of the Lancaster Canal.

Transformation at Leeds

The meandering route to Skipton features sumptuous scenery; the lock keeper assists passage through Bingley Five Rise Locks. The waterfront at Leeds has undergone a transformation with disused warehouses converted to shops and restaurants. The route continues along the Aire & Calder Navigation, a commercial waterway carrying large vessels. Stanley Ferry Aqueduct crosses the River Calder in a cast iron trough.

From Wakefield the Calder & Hebble continues to Sowerby Bridge. Flood locks and defences along the route minimise the effects of varying water levels. Short branches and old basins make for interesting diversions.

Free guides for fun days out

Looking for a perfect place to relax and unwind? Download your free regional guide today

Majestic scenery

Locks on the Calder & Hebble are operated by a handspike in place of the more usual windlass. A long-distance footpath connects with the towpath near Brighouse.

Tuel Lock, Sowerby Bridge

The imposing Tuel Lane Lock marks the meeting with the Rochdale Canal at Sowerby Bridge in grand style. Passing through majestic scenery dominated by the imposing Pennines the green gradually fades as Manchester draws closer and the Rochdale Nine Locks in the heart of the city lower the line once more towards Castlefield.


We'd love to tell you more

Our newsletter is packed full of exciting updates and stories of how our charity keeps canals alive.

Last Edited: 01 August 2023

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration