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Bury Canal Society

Ringley Locks photoKey Facts

  • Canal authorised by Act of Parliament in 1791
    Surveyed and Engineered by Matthew Fletcher
    Canal opened in 1797 – Salford locks completed in 1808, linking the canal to the River Irwell
    Length: 15 miles 1 furlong (24.3 km)
    17 locks from Salford to Nob End have a rise of 187ft (57m); the summit is level from Bolton to Bury
    Maximum size of boats: 68' x 14' 2"
    Principal traffic was coal from numerous canalside collieries
    20 tramroads linked the canal to other collieries and works

  • Major surviving features: Prestolee Locks (2 staircases of 3 locks), Prestolee and Clifton aqueducts, steam crane at Mount Sion, Ringley lock house, quarter-milestones
    Originally designed as a narrow canal - widened during construction in order to be able to link with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Red Moss
    Three extensions to Red Moss, Haslingden & Sladen proposed but not built
    Fletcher's Canal built c.1791; connected to the MB&BC c.1800
    Canal became a canal and railway company in 1831, and built the Manchester to Bolton Railway line in 1838. The canal passed to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1847
    Sections became disused from 1924; major breach at Prestolee in 1936

  • Canal formally closed in 1941 & 1961; last use in Bury in 1965
    Canal Society formed in 1987
    Canal protected by Salford, Bolton & Bury local authorities in their Unitary Development Plans
    Restoration announced by British Waterways in 2002, work began at Middlewood in Salford in 2006, opened in 2008 with a new entrance tunnel and deep lock
    Meccano Bridge built at Nob End, Little Lever in 2012

  • Two ‘Big Digs’ revealed the Nob End lock flight in 2015-16

  • New restoration strategy agreed with Canal & River Trust in 2017

  • Restoration Strategy Consultation for the canal from Little Lever to Bury to be undertaken in 2020, funded by C&RT, MBBCS, Bolton & Bury Councils

Ringley Locks photo

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