About The Canoe Trails
The trails are a variety of lengths and can be paddled at your leisure. You can choose to explore just one of the trails or complete all six of them at your leisure. In total they cover almost 60 miles over three different canals.
The Bridgewater Canal was the first canal to be built under an Act of Parliament and is named after its after its owner, Francis Egerton the third Duke of Bridgewater. It was built by him to transport coal from his mines at Worsley into Manchester. Look out for the tunnels at Worsley Delph, into which specially constructed boats travelled to collect coal from the mines.
Macclesfield Canal was one of the last canals to be constructed and was designed to be a link between the midlands and Manchester. Although not very successful as a canal it quickly became popular with boat cruisers, stopping it from falling into disuse.
The purpose of the Peak Forest Canal was to move limestone deposits. Following the pretty River Goyt for much of its length it is an attractive area to paddle. You may get a waft of sweets as you pass the Swizzels Matlow factory along your way!
All these trails are described as one way trips. If you cannot arrange a vehicle shuttle you can do them as out and back journeys.
If you don't have your own boat or equipment you can always consider Canoe Hire.
A hard copy of all of the trails will soon be available to purchase from British Canoeing. You can also download each of the individual trails below or go straight to the map and GPX download:
- Bridgewater Canal: Little Bollington to Keckwick Hill Bridge
- Bridgewater Canal: Barton Upon Irwell to Leigh
- Bridgewater Canal: Worsley to Manchester
- Macclesfield Canal
- Peak Forest Canal: Dukinfield Junction to Marple Bridge
- Peak Forest Canal: Marple to Whaley Bridge
Licence and Membership Information
The waterways in these trails require paddlers to hold a licence. You can purchase a British Canoeing Membership, which includes an annual licence for all the waterways covered.
Please ensure you take your membership card with you on the water as this acts as your licence. If stopped with no licence you will be at risk of being fined.
We would love to hear from you if you have completed any of these trails and would like to give us feedback or share your stories with us.
We are also always interested in ideas for new trails.