Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
The Ashton Canal was saved from dereliction by hardworking volunteers in the 1970s. They cleared weeds and rubbish out of the canal, reopening a waterway into the heart of Manchester.
5th Feb 2018 9:00am to 1st Aug 2019 5:00pm
A reduction in the towpath width is needed to allow for the construction of the adjacent residential development and town houses. The proposed buildings are situated in close to the towpath and required...
Portland Basin Marina is a small friendly independent marina based at the junction of the Lower Peak Forest, Huddersfield Narrow and Ashton canals.
We have the second largest collection of working wooden canl boats. Rather than simply restoring and preserving them we are finding new uses for these wonderfull old boats, putting them to work on behalf...
Lock 17 to Lock 18
Lock 18 to Lock 1W
Ducie Street Junction to Lock 17
Today, the canal is a green link from the city centre to Ashton-under-Lyne, bordered by an interesting mix of modern and industrial architecture. Improvements to the towpath have made it into a pleasant route, accessible to walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users.
The Ashton Canal spans a distance of almost 7 miles and is situated between the Rochdale, Peak Forest and Huddersfield Narrow canals.
Portland Basin Museum gives an insight into the heritage of the canal, with a reconstruction of a 1920's street, and information about the hat-making, textiles and coal industries in the area.
Find stoppages, restrictions and navigational advice for this waterway.
Enjoy a family day out at Portland Basin on the Ashton Canal. You can take a picnic, go for a walk and explore the free (and child-friendly) Portland Basin Museum.
The Ashton Canal was originally built in 1792 to serve the coal industry around Oldham, Ashton and Hyde and in particular to compete with the Worsley mines. It worked closely with the Peak Forest Canal and they continued working together after being taken over by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1848. The Canal was an important link in the cross Pennine trade between the North West's industrial heartland and the quarries in the High Peak District until the 1950s. Originally the Ashton Canal had a network of wharves and more than 11 miles of branches; sadly, they are all now closed, although it is possible to walk along some of them.
By the 1950s, commercial traffic had deserted the canal, which fell derelict in the ensuing decade. Sone local people campaigned for its closure on safety grounds, while its owners wanted to be rid of the expense of maintenance. It was threatened with abandonment and infilling in 1961, when a pioneering pleasure cruiser made a passage with great difficulty.
Attempts to save the canal were not helped by a leak in 1964 which rendered it impassable, or the somewhat unsavoury reputation it had gained from bisecting some of the less picturesque elements of a major conurbation. But volunteers had seen the canal's potential as a crucial link in the 'Cheshire Ring', a boating circuit taking in six canals through beautiful countryside, bustling Manchester, and market towns like Congleton and Macclesfield. Hundreds of enthusiasts turned up to muddy gatherings in 1968 and 1972, carting away rubbish by the lorry-load and ensuring the survival of this neglected waterway.
The Ashton Canal reopened in 1974, though its various branches - such as one to Stockport - are all derelict and built over. A reputation for vandalism has diminished in recent years, in no small part due to the canalside Commonwealth Games of 2002.
Manchester, Pennine & Potteries
Find out what's going on in the Manchester, Pennine & Potteries region