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Manchester Canoe Trails

The City of Manchester and the Greater Manchester area is bordered by National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty. Canoeing and kayaking are a fantastic way to explore this area. Being on the water gives you access to a whole new perspective.

Canals were vital to the industrial revolution in Greater Manchester. These, self guided, trails allow you to follow the journeys of the coal, textiles, limestone and pottery, which made Manchester the powerhouse it is today. Follow the canals from peaceful countryside right into the thriving heart of the city.

Expand About The Canoe Trails

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.

Expand The Trails Expand Licence and Membership Information

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.

You can also buy a licence directly from the Canal & River Trust for the trails on Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals or Bridgewater Canal Company for trails on the Bridgewater Canal.

Expand Contact Us

Contact Us

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.