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Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal is a green pathway winding through the urban landscape of north Manchester.

Bridge over canal with locks in background Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal

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It was derelict for many years, but has been partly restored by dedicated local volunteers, led by the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society.

The best-preserved section of canal is around Prestolee and Nob End, where the towpath is a quiet walking route away from the bustle of Bury and Bolton's town centres. The undisturbed waters here also provide good fishing.

The canal’s original structures give a fascinating glimpse into its industrial heritage. Most striking is the iconic Grade II-listed Mount Sion steam crane, a dramatic cast-iron structure with its original pistons and winding gear intact.

Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway

Days out

We've put together some free family guides to the best days out on your doorstep. Find out which of our hidden gems are waiting to be discovered near you.

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The history

The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal originally ran north from Salford, on the River Irwell near Manchester, to Prestolee, near the village of Little Lever. Here it split into two: the main line continued to Bury, while a branch headed north-west to Bolton. Now derelict, the canal is under active restoration.

As a green corridor through the sprawl of north Manchester, the restored canal promises to offer rewarding boating and good walking. The obstacles are many - infilled sections of the canal bed, demolished locks, and disparate ownership of the line - but plans are being formulated with a view to complete restoration of the canal within the next few years.