Bury, Bolton, Manchester Canal.

Bury Arm

The glamorous outskirts of Bury! This was taken from the old railway viaduct that took the (long closed) Bury to Bolton railway over the river Irwell and the canal.We are looking down to where the canal used to run, we believe i was between the mill and the newer building on the right.

The canal used to run under Bolton road to a canal basin around a quarter of a mile from here. Nothing is left of this canal basin, in fact there isn't much evidence to say a canal was ever here.

There is a good picture of the old basin at Bury in book called "Lost Canals of England and Wales" by Ronald Russell, which is documented in our bibliography page.

Still on the viaduct but looking the other way (away from Bury). Again the canal used to run right in the middle of the picture from top to bottom.

The street running to the right is Wellington street, at the bottom of this street is a small industrial site. You maybe ok to park to car round here if you planned to bike or walk this route.

 

 

From Wellington street looking back to the viaduct. Its great to see this viaduct restored and in use as a cycle / path way. Many of these fine viaducts were demolished in the 60s and 70s.
At the end of Wellington road, you take the pathway that runs along the old canal, here we found the remains of the stone edging from the canal side. (note how frosty it was!) Still it wasn't muddy!
Here we are on the route of the old canal - its all filled in though!
Again more edging stones.

Suddenly through the trees you come across the canal, here it is water, in fact for most of its length, towards Bolton,it is in water.

There are plans to get this canal back in use - it would be great canal to navigate.

Some of the local wildlife along the canal. Great to see swans, infarct we saw another 2 pairs further along the route.
Here we are heading towards Radcliffe. The route feels right out in the countryside. We are weaving our way between Daisyfields and Lower Hinds.

Here we are on the outskirt of Radcliffe. Just ahead of us the canal is lost under Water street. When they updated the road, they removed the canal bridge and filled it in.

To the right of the picture there used to be an old canal yard. The picture isn't very clear, but when you are there, you can see the yard quite clearly.

A sunken barge! We have no idea how old this barge is, and how long it has been there, still an interesting site!
Looking up to Water street, you can see where the canal stops.
Water street. Here the canal originally went under the road, however it is now all filled in.
On the other side of the road, you can see where the canal starts again. This would be an obstacle if they wanted to re-open the canal, however looking at what they did at Stalylbridge, I am sure they will have no problems here!
Heading out of Radcliffe. The canal is in water, if a little weed strune. The tow path is ok though.

We are now around a mile out of Radcliffe, this picture is looking down in to the Irwell valley and down to the river Irwell.

The canal runs tight along the valley at this point. The countryside and views are nice, especially being so high up on the valley side.

A little further on the canal opens up.
Again around 2 miles outside of Radcliffe, heading towards Bolton.

This is a well documented relic on the route, but one we hadn't expected to find. Its the remains of an old steam crane that was used to unload barges and pass their load down to the factories and works below.

Sadly this great machine is rusting away, and the boiler especially, looks like it will not last much longer.

A great find and something really interesting to find.

Here is the view down from the site of the crane. This is where the crane would drop off its cargo.
An original marker stone on the side of the canal. These are rare finds, and certainly good to find.

We were getting closer to Nob end, where the link to Manchester joined and the route to Bolton started.

As I mentioned earlier the canal hugs the valley side, and not too far away from here so the canal breached. The canal side just fell away in to the Irwell valley.

The canal was dammed at this spot, and the upper part we have just covered was still used for freight up until the early 1960s. However this breach was the end of the canal as a through route. They never did manage to mend the breach.

At the other side of the dam the canal is not watered. We were to come across the breach around half a mile from here.

I assume due to the breach this part of the canal was not in water from an early date, hence why this mill building was built over the canal.

The 3 pictures show the building over the canal. It is built right along the route of the canal, as the pictures clearly show.

With further reading, I understand this mill is not in use and the buildings are either in the hands of the council or the canal restoration trust.

Here we are at the start of the breach - note how the path goes down in the canal. We can see the wall of the canal in front of us.

Here are a selection of pictures showing where the canal was breached. You can see how much was washed away during the breach.

This breach eventually led to the canal being shut as a complete canal.

This site is worth a quick stop off, you can see where they have tried to repair the breach with various new supporting walls, and even the inclusion of some old railway lines to try and put some strength in to the retaining wall.

A close up of the canal wall - these are normally well below water level. Here we can see the workmanship that went in to the canal build. There is a inner brick lining, followed by the stone outer wall. The masonry work is of a high quality. All this hard work would be under water! These canals were built to last, and should be preserved where possible.
The "Nob End" junction. Hard to see the line of the canal, but here the arm joined (behind us) running from Manchester. To the right the canal led to Bury, to the left to Bolton.

Here we are at the top of the "Nob End" staircase canal locks. Sadly these locks are in a bad way, Not much left to be seen, just the retaining walls of the locks have been left. Luckily in winter you can make out quite a lot of what is left, but in summer these are heavily overgrown.

I think there was 5 locks here. This will be a major construction job when they eventually repair these locks. Still they will make a spectacular central point of this canal.

From the top of the locks looking down the Irwell valley - this is where the canal snakes down to Manchester. We hope to follow this route in the future.
This is all that's left of the bridge at the top of "Nob End" where the canal ran towards Bolton.

Bury Arm - Bolton Arm - Manchester Arm - Canal Page

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