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
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Linking the cosmopolitan cities of Liverpool and Leeds, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in Britain built as a single waterway. With rural walks, noteworthy heritage and peaceful boating, its 127 mile length has a lot to offer. But without the efforts of waterway enthusiasts in the middle of the last century we may have lost it altogether.
5th May 2018 12:00am to 7th May 2018 11:59pm
16th Mar 2018 12:00am onwards
Please be advised that due to a recent power outage in the area, we require our contractor team to attend Bridge 32, Crabtree Swing Bridge as we are unable to operate the bridge. The contractor team have...
21st Mar 2018 8:00am to 21st Mar 2018 12:00pm
A short restriction is required at Lock 59 at Johnsons Hillock on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal whilst our team de-water the lock to complete some further works to repair a damaged ground paddle. Navigation...
12th Mar 2018 7:00am to 23rd Mar 2018 5:00pm
A navigation closure is required to carry out urgent works to reduce leakage at Lock 55. The work will involve the repair or replacement of the damaged head gate cills.
10th Mar 2018 12:00am to 30th Mar 2018 11:59pm
We are undertaking works to Handcock's Swing Bridge (No. 9) on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to facilitate full user operation.
19th Mar 2018 12:00am to 30th Sep 2018 11:59pm
In order to conserve water in the Wigan area, Canal & River Trust North West will be implementing overnight restrictions in the Wigan central area. Lock 88 (Pagefield Lock) to Lock 89 on the Leeds & Liverpool...
12th Mar 2018 8:00am to 13th Apr 2018 6:00pm
Please be advised that contractors will be refurbishing the railway bridge from a floating pontoon at Stegneck Railway Bridge, Gargrave
Boats will be able to pass but please do slow down when approaching...
20th Mar 2018 7:30am to 23rd Mar 2018 5:30pm
A navigation restriction is required at Bridge 2H on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and up to 30 metres either side, to facilitate a detailed examination of canal profile, wash walls and abutments with use...
29th Nov 2017 12:00am to 31st May 2018 11:59pm
THIRD PARTY WORKS
In order to facilitate bridge repairs, Scaffolding will be installed on Bridge 27a, Scarisbrick Bridge from 29 November 2017 to 16 February 2018. The scaffold will create a width restriction...
1st Dec 2017 12:00am to 31st Mar 2018 11:59pm
In order to conserve water in the Wigan area, Canal & River Trust North West will be implementing overnight restrictions in the Wigan central area through winter. Lock 88 (Pagefield Lock) to Lock 89 on...
1st Jul 2016 12:00am onwards
A third party owned wall has collapsed into the Leeds & Liverpool Canal adjacent to Bridge 131 (Colne Road Bridge) on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Please navigate the area with care as the channel may...
The Oil Lab offers Oil and Fuel testing for the use of Individuals and Industry – set up in 1999 by a team of dedicated professionals, we have many years of experience in interpreting oil and fuel analysis...
Wheelton Boat Yard is the home of Forton Boat Fitters. We offer a range of services from new boat builds to repairs, refits and servicing. We have an onsite 30ton crane for lifting all narrowboats, hard...
Lady Teal is the UK's premier 5 Star rated inland waterways hotel boat.
Star Narrowboat Holidays, is an independent, narrowboat hire company owned and managed by Hester Cox at the Bridgewater Marina (also known as Boothstown Basin) we are independent of the marina and any...
Private hire party boat running 3 hour trips from Leeds City Centre. Fully licenced bar and a wide range of catering options. Dj available too. A great venue for all types of party, as well as corporate...
Operating since 1993 we run Sunday passenger trips and private charters from Foulridge Canal Wharf.
Providers of skills courses, instruction and guiding for Hillwalking, Navigation, Paddle Sports (canoe & kayak), Nordic Walking, First Aid Training and Leadership.
SKIPTON BOAT TRIPS & DAY BOAT HIRE
Whole of Springs branch
Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Bridge 175 Niffany Swing Bridge to Bridge 178 Belmont
Rodley Swing Bridge 217 to Victoria Bridge
Bridge 210 Oddies Swing Bridge to Lock 16 Field Bottom
Bridge 183a Farnhill to Bridge 191 Cowling Swing Bridge
Leigh BranchWigan Junction to Branch 4 Dover
Bridge 151A Park to Bridge 153 Long Ing
Bridge 87 Jackson to Bridge 92 Millfield
Lower Foulridge Reservoir
Rufford BranchBridge 7 Chapel to Town End Swing Bridge 12
Granby Swing Bridge 197a to Bridge 198 Swine Lane
Brunsthwaite Swing Bridge 192 to Bridge 194 Lodge Hill
Cowling Swing Bridge 191 to Brunsthwaite Swing Bridge 192
Bridge 178 Belmont to Bridge 183a Farnhill
Bridge 194 Lodge Hill to Leaches Swing Bridge 196
Bridge 198 Swine Lane to Lock 21 Dowley Gap top lock
Lock 21 Dowley Gap top lock to Oddies Swing Bridge 210
Leigh BranchPlank Lane Lift Bridge 7 to Bridge 10 A5732
Bridge 216a Horseforth Road to Rodley Swing Bridge 217
Bridge 212 Idle Swing Bridge to Bridge 214b Thornhill
Lock 16 Field bottom to Idle Swing Bridge 212
Bridge 214b Thornhill to Bridge 216a Horseforth
Leaches Swing Bridge 196 to Granby Swing Bridge 197a
Halsall Warehouse Bridge 25 to Moss Lane Bridge 80
Rufford BranchBridge 1 to Bridge 7
Liverpool Eldonian Bridge (start of navigation) to Bridge 25 at Halsall
Lock 41 Bank Newton top lock to Bridge 175 Niffany Swing Bridge
Bridge 4 Dover to Bridge 7 Plank Lane Lift
Bridge 92 Millfield to Bridge 151a Park
Bridge 80 Moss Lane to Bridge 87 Jackson's Bridge
Celebrating 200 years
Our 200 year legacy of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is to be celebrated throughout 2016. We want you to join in to find out more about its heritage and to celebrate this remarkable birthday
Leaving Liverpool, the canal passes through East Lancashire and then crosses Pennine countryside and picturesque villages on the edge of the Yorskhire Dales before reaching Leeds. Walkers love the Leeds & Liverpool, and thousands of visitors come every year to marvel at the impressive Bingley Five Rise Locks and the historic salt town of Saltaire.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.
Download our free guide for a fantastic family day out at the World Heritage Site of Saltaire.
Northern trade and industry flourished in the mid-18th Century, and there was great call for a canal linking the east and west of England.
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal was the earliest of the trans-Pennine canals to be proposed. It offered a gentler, less direct route than the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Rochdale Canal, but it still passed through important limestone and coal mining areas. Construction took a long time and it was only completed in 1816, some 46 years after work began.
Together with the Aire & Calder Navigation, which it meets at Leeds, it offered a coast to coast route between the Irish Sea and the North Sea, though not a proper connection until the Stanley Dock branch in Liverpool opened in 1846.
The tunnel at Foulridge was opened in 1796. A tale that has passed into local folklore tells of the cow that fell into the water and swam the whole length of Foulridge Tunnel before being pulled out at the other end and revived with brandy.
Canal hey day
Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool were for the most part built to a size of 62 feet by 14 feet (18.8m x 4.3m). These broad locks turned out to play a key part in the long-term success of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The local cargo craft were known as 'short boats', broad-gauge vessels capable of carrying around 45 tons. The larger payload of the short boats - around twice that of a standard narrowboat - enabled the line to prosper for many years.
The canal’s most important cargo was coal closely followed by merchandise. Thanks to the combination of local heavy industry and the decision to build the canal with broad locks, the Leeds & Liverpool was able to compete successfully with the railways throughout the 19th Century. It even remained open for much of the 20th Century, with the last cargo of coal being carried along the Leigh Branch to Wigan Power Station in 1972.
The canal was so successful that the reservoirs built to supply the canal were never adequate, with water shortages in dry summers. Despite this, the canal continued to carry large tonnages well into the 1950s.
World War II
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal, like several major waterways across the country, formed part of Britain’s defense plans against foreign invasion. Today, you can still see some remaining concrete pill boxes and blockhouses in west Lancashire. In this area, even canalside buildings such as pubs and barns were fortified.
Decline of commercial traffic
Traffic began to dwindle on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal with the introduction of natural gas and subsequent closure of the canalside collieries.
In the 1950s and 1960s, waterway enthusiasts including members of the Mersey Motor Boat Club tried hard to keep the canal open and navigable using a wide variety of boats, including converted life boats.
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal today
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal has continued to prosper in the 21st Century. The Ribble Link, which opened in 2002, allows the Leeds & Liverpool to connect with the Lancaster Canal and opened up a number of cruising opportunities for boaters. And following the £22 million creation of the Liverpool Canal Link, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal now extends right into the heart of Liverpool and its historic Albert Dock.
We are delighted that this historic waterway, once so vital to the manufacturing industries of the north, is continuing to play an important role in this second age of the canals.
North West waterways
The latest news and plans for the waterways of the North West