Canal Bike ride - Down the Huddersfield canal, from Audenshaw to Diggle

 

This is a bike ride that myself and Duncan have undertaken on a couple of occasions, but both were before we started the website. So we picked our weekend and charged up the camera ready for this great bike ride up to Diggle in Tameside.

We picked one of the warmest days to undertake this ride, so we stocked up on drinks and hit the tow path.

This particular ride gives the opportunity for you to join it at any stage along the route, to make it as long or short as you wish. As its along the canal tow path the going is easy, however there are numerous locks past Stalybridge where the associated gradients can slow you down.

The ride is one of the most picturesque we have undertaken, once past Stalybridge the Tame valley opens up and there are some fantastic views along the way.

The Huddersfield canal was recently restored and the quality of the tow path reflects this. The part through Stalybridge is especially good, where the canal was originally lost and built over. However during restoration it was totally rebuilt, transforming the fortunes of the town. See my links page for more canal information and details of the Huddersfield canal restoration.

We recommend this route, there is loads to see and do, plus you have the bonus of being close to amenities and great pubs! The route we took from Audenshaw to Diggle and back again was around 26 miles in length, however the beauty of this route is you can start and end where you want.

Enjoy the ride!

The start at Lumb Lane, Audenshaw, Grt Manchester

The familiar Lumb lane in Audenshaw, this is where we started our journey.

The canal runs from left to right. Left down to Manchester (via the City of Manchester Stadium) and right to Stalybridge, via Ashton, This is the route we took.

We start this route with a couple of re-cycled pictures - hope you don't mind!

The start of the Peak Forest canal at Portland basin in Ashton - U - Lyne. We carried on up the Huddersfield canal.

 

The route we took, up the Huddersfield canal.

The Asda supermarket in Ashton. The canal runs under the Asda store, but the tow path doesn't. Luckily when the store was built they made provision for the canal.

This part of the route is not very well signposted. You have to come off the canal before (the very busy) Cavendish street. The first obstacle is crossing this road, take care.

The path then continues by the side of the Asda store. Here the picture is looking back at the canal (towards Portland Basin). The canal runs between the 2 chimneys.

 

 

The path running back down to the canal. The Asda store is on the left. To the right is the Manchester to Huddersfield railway line.

This was also the location of Ashton Park Parade railway station that was closed back in the 1960s.

Looking back towards Ashton. The first of many locks on the climb up to Diggle.

 

The canal narrows up at this point just around Whitelands road outside Ashton. Take care, its narrow here.

Heading towards Stalybridge, yet more locks and a sneak peak of the moorland ahead.

The canal weaves up the Tame valley, crossing the river Tame on numerous occasions. This was just outside of Stalybridge.

You can just see Stalybridge railway station at the top of the picture (centre). You can just make out the arches.

Approaching Stalybridge. Here the canal is only a few years old. Before 2001 there was no trace of the canal through the town centre. Now it forms a central point of the town.

The tow path here is fully paved and lit.

Running through Stalybridge. The new canal does follow the original and where possible uses the original bridges.

 

Down town Staly Vegas! The Vegas tag has stuck as the town has a big night life with loads of bars and clubs.

The canal has also helped the towns re-generation. Here we are in the centre where the canal forms a focal point.

Dunc takes a rest before the climb up to Diggle.

Past Stalybridge the canal continues its path up the Tame Valley.

The tow path is not paved from this point, however it is in good condition (as long as it isn't raining!).

Looking back towards Stalybridge. You can see the new locks and bridges that were built when the canal was restored.

A little bit of railway heritage along the way. This is the point where the Micklehurst loop railway crossed the canal and ran on the other side of the Tame valley to the still in use railway line to Huddersfield.

Lots of the Micklehurst line is traceable and walkable, I did walk a large section a few years back, but the vegetation was thick and you wouldn't be able to ride your bike along it. Still worth a look if like me, you find disused railways interesting.

Around the Millbrook area. This was the location of a large power station. Today just a large electrical sub station remains.

What's this??? I've had to lighten the picture to show the alignment of the canal and tow path.

This is all that is left of a conveyor system that ran from a depot across to the old power station.

The depot is still standing (just) where coal was delivered by train (along part of the Micklehurst Loop). I understand this part of the railway was open until the early 1970s.

Now its all disused.

 

Scout tunnel. This is a straight tunnel which you can ride or walk through. I recommend you walk your bike through as its dark and wet.

There is a rail to follow, but take care.

We found it a great place for a rest and drink, it was really cool in there!

 

Looking back to the start of Scout tunnel.
We are working our way up to Micklehurst.

Its starting to open up now! We are near Edmont St in Micklehurst. There is a great canal side pub here. The smell of food was wafting across the canal. We had to ride past quickly to avoid stopping!

A great view across the Tame Valley at Mossley.
The river Tame passes below - this is a small aquaduct.
Working our way to Uppermill. These houses have a cracking view of the canal. Very nice.
Another new bridge that was built when the canal was restored. This one carries Chew Valley Road.

Another new bridge which carries Oldham road. We are just outside Uppermill.

This part of the canal was totally lost and filled in. Now it has been totally restored.

The tow path doesn't follow the canal here. You will need to take a flight of steps and cross Oldham road to get back to the canal on the other side.

Looking at High Street in Uppermill.

Uppermill is a lovely village that's well worth a stop for a break and a look around. There are some great places to eat and drink as well as shops and a great play area for the kids.

Outside of Uppermill the railway crosses the canal and the river along this viaduct.

Looking back towards Uppermill on the other side of the viaduct. There are some spectacular views at this point.

Also notice how the canal is climbing at the point. The locks come thick and fast from here onwards.

Dobcross - this is a converted canal wearhouse. (on the right).

We are looking down the canal back towards Uppermill.

Also at Dobcross is the Tame Valley visitor centre which is open most weekends and bank holidays. Well worth a visit and its free.

Really starting to open up now! We are also climbing fast towards Diggle.

Yorkshire is just a few miles over the hills!

The great view back towards Uppermill.

Just on the outskirts of Diggle. We are now running parallel with the railway. You can just see the signal on the right.

The approach to Stannage tunnel.

A close up of Stannage tunnel. It wasn't open the day we took the route, however the tunnel has been fully restored and boats can take guided trips through it.

This is technically the end of the route, the tow path ends here. However if you take Station road a few more yards you cross back over the railway and come to the excellent Diggle Hotel and Pub (more pictures a little later).

 

The Stannage railway tunnel. Next stop Marsden Yorkshire.
To the right of the existing tunnel is the original dual bored tunnel which was built before the double tunnel. You can just see both bores.

The Diggle Hotel - our recommendation for a refreshing pint!! The food looks good too.

Please pay them a visit!

The excellent beer garden at the Diggle Hotel. The day we stopped they had a fine brass band playing. Certainly a great place to relax.

We just had the return journey to make!

We hope you have enjoyed our bike ride along the Huddersfield canal to Diggle. This is one of our favorite rides as the views are fantastic. Definitely one for a dry day though. The route takes in some great history and architecture.

Highly recommended.

Enjoy - Keep safe - JON and DUNC.

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