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10 reasons to take up canoeing
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Desmond Family Canoe Trail
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Everyone has their favourite stretch. For the inaugural edition of Waterfront we went from Hebden Bridge to Todmorden and Mytholmroyd on the Rochdale Canal.
This part of the Rochdale Canal was once a busy industrial waterway. In recent years it has been restored and transformed into a bustling leisure artery linking, where a resident kingfisher skims majestically over the water as people cycle to work or stroll along the water. We asked: what's the best thing about your stretch? Interviews: Paul Clarke
"I travelled up from Chichester after I read about Hebden Bridge. It really appealed that the waterway was so close to this beautiful town. We’ve brought our dogs Whiskey and Charlie who both like running loose, but we have to be a bit careful as Whiskey likes swimming." Ross Martyn
"The water does something to you. You feel much calmer when you live next to it. I never want to be away from water ever again. It’s lovely looking out of my window of a morning and waving at the barges as they go past." Jennifer Foster
"The canal is about tranquillity, but it also has loads of activity. My nieces and nephews like to feed the ducks and talk to people from all over the country who are passing by on boat trips. Life on the canal is a social thing." Hayley Calvert
"The canal is very therapeutic. Ideally all doctors would refer people with stress-related illnesses to walk down the canal and see life as it should be – much slower. I like the walk from Hebden Bridge to Mytholmroyd, with all the barges parked up on the side." Dave Young
"I love the stretch between Hebden and Todmorden as I’m a birdwatcher and love nature, so it’s perfect. I’ve seen kingfishers and there are lots of geese grazing along the towpath. This whole area is a naturalist’s paradise." Nigel Griffiths
"I like this stretch where there are lots of people. Further towards Littleborough it gets more remote, which is great too. I love the engineering, which evokes an era when we could build things, make things and fix things without using high technology." Toby Rainland
"I come down here cycling with my three little boys. I do spend a lot of time trying to stop them falling into the canal, but the boys love it. It’s nice to be here as a young family especially since the recent restoration which has brought so many more people." Catherine Smith
"You can start when you want, stop when you want, go when you want. We spend a lot of time on the Rochdale Canal as we are moored in Sowerby Bridge, and it’s a four hour run up to Hebden. It’s wonderful the number of people who approach you to have a chat." Michael Smith
"I really like this stretch. As you ride you can still see where the warehouses, mills and cranes used to be, so there is plenty to look at. The towpath is in really good condition; I like to ride it on a road bike as it adds a bit interest, and it's more challenging than using my mountain bike." Jason Kilner
"It’s such a pleasant walk down here; so open and so dog-friendly. You can see where the Trust has put lot of money into the towpath and it is so clean. That investment benefits the whole community by bringing people into the towns along the canal." Angus Wilson
"It’s an interesting place to walk as there is a lot of history going right back to the industrial revolution. It’s nice to see the canal being kept in order for leisure and pleasure. We’re on a family and dog trip today, but sometimes my wife and I come along on our own." Hugh Wilson
"I book the acts at the Trades Club. The bands park up and go ‘wow!’ – they can’t believe how beautiful it is. Edwyn Collins had a stroke a few years ago, so walking can be difficult, but it was perfect for him here. He and his wife Grace had a lovely walk up the canal." Mal Campbell
You're reading Waterfront, the online home of our supporters magazine. If you want to be the first to find out about out latest news and features then become a Friend of the Trust. We'll send you regular emails telling you all about our colourful canals and rivers and much more.
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