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 Rochdale Canal crosses the rugged heights of the Pennines from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge. The steep climb means lots of locks and an exhausting but exhilarating journey with stunning views.
19th Mar 2018 7:30am to 23rd Mar 2018 5:30pm
Third party contractors will be carrying out planned structural survey works to the railway viaduct in Gauxholme. In order to enable the survey to be carried out, the towpath will be closed to accommodate...
18th Dec 2017 8:00am to 18th Mar 2018 5:30pm
Third party contractors will be using a floating pontoon for safety and access at their site at Minshull Street
The canal will remain open and access to lock 86 and the floating lock landing will not...
Photographer, specialising in pictures of the Rochdale Canal and the South Pennine moors.
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...
Bridge 73 Oldham Road A62 to Bridge 101 Castle Street Bridge
Lock 51 Blue Pits Highest to Bridge 73 Oldham Road A62
Lock 13 Callis to Lock 51 Blue Pits Highest
Junction Calder & Hebble to Lock 13 Callis
For boaters, this canal is a peaceful place to escape the crowds. The towpath is probably the easiest walking route through the Pennines, taking you into the heart of the hills at a relatively gentle gradient. However, there is also plenty of access to more challenging routes for serious hiking.
The Rochdale Canal re-opened to boats in 2002 after an ambitious volunteer restoration project that brought an end to more than 50 years without through navigation. Obstacles had included two motorways, countless road blockages and a scheme to fill the channel with concrete.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.
In 1804, the Rochdale became the first of our three trans-Pennine canals to be fully opened - perhaps due to the choice of a route over the top of the Pennines, avoiding the problems with tunnel construction that had bedevilled the other two waterways.
Principal cargoes included coal, agricultural produce and materials for the textiles industry. The large number of locks on a relatively short length of canal, rising to a height of over 600 feet (180m), meant that water supply was always a problem. Seven reservoirs were built especially to service the line.
Locks were made large enough to accommodate broad-gauge (14ft), boats with commercial payloads of up to 70 tons. All the locks were made with exactly the same fall: this meant all the gates were the same size, making maintenance easier, and conserved water by using the same amount of water for each lock operation.
The canal proved a success until the combined effects of road and the decline in traditional industries took their inevitable toll. The last regular through-traffic ended just before World War II, and by the 1950s commercial carrying had virtually ceased altogether. Unusually, the canal had not been nationalised in 1948, and remained in private ownership.
The canal closed as a through route just four years later. One short length remained: the nine locks in central Manchester between the Ashton Canal and the Bridgewater Canal, which was an essential part of the Cheshire Cruising Ring.
Restoration work on the Rochdale Canal began in the 1970s, and the following decade saw much of the canal reopened on the Yorkshire side from Littleborough eastwards. This was reconnected to the waterway network in 1996 by the glorious new lock at Tuel Lane near Sowerby Bridge, which combines two earlier locks so that the canal may tunnel under a road built on its original level. At almost 20 feet (6m) deep, it vies with Bath Deep Lock for the title of the deepest lock in Britain.
Restoration of the Rochdale Canal entailed the total refurbishment of 24 locks, the cutting of a new section of channel, massive dredging of the original line and the construction of 12 new road bridges. It was reopened throughout in 2002 and now, together with the reopened Huddersfield Narrow Canal, forms part of the South Pennine Cruising Ring.
Manchester, Pennine & Potteries Waterways
Find out more about the Manchester, Pennine & Potteries Waterways, their most recent news and events.