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Bury Canal Society

Press Release from the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society

Restoring the Canal from Little Lever to Radcliffe

The proposed housing schemes at Hall Lane and at the former Creams Paper Mill sites in Little Lever offer the opportunity for the canal between those two sites to be restored to a navigable standard.

The canal was breached near Boscow Road in 1936 and, as trade on the canal was declining, the breach was never repaired. At either side of the breach the canal was left dry for about 600 yards, but it remained in water from Nob End to Hall Lane and from Creams Mill through Radcliffe to Elton near Bury.

The proposed restoration will fill in the breach and install a new channel to enable boats once again to sail from Little Lever to Radcliffe. This scheme will also encourage the blocked canal at Water Street in Radcliffe to be reinstated. Overall, this will create five miles of navigable canal, accounting for one-third of the canal’s original length.

At Hall Lane the new development will provide easy road access to a proposed outdoor activity centre on land owned by the Canal & River Trust.

At Creams there will be a new access bridge over the canal, and the canal will provide a green waterway between different parts of the development.

Extending Moses Gate Country Park to include the land between the canal and the River Irwell is also being discussed, providing a large canal and riverside recreational area for residents and visitors.

Paul Hindle, Chairman of the Canal Society, said “we welcome the opportunity this development provides to enhance the canal environment and experience. We believe that this restoration of the canal for navigation will bring many benefits to the communities along the canal.”

The Canal Society was founded in 1987, with the principal aim of restoring the canal. It has achieved several successes, despite often difficult economic times. In the 1990s two bridges were restored to full navigable dimensions. In 2008 the first length of the canal at Middlewood in Salford was fully restored, including construction of a new deep lock allowing access from the River Irwell. The Society built the unique Meccano Bridge in 2012 and then undertook two ‘Big Digs’ to reveal the flight of six locks at Nob End. The Society continues to work with Bolton, Bury and Salford Councils, as well as with the Canal & River Trust. In the past few years the towpath from Hall Lane to Radcliffe has been resurfaced. The Canal Society is currently taking part in a feasibility study with Bolton and Bury Councils and the Canal & River Trust to investigate reopening the canal to navigation from Little Lever to Bury.


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