The Peak Forest Canal

The Peak Forest Canal is one of Britain’s most scenic waterways, running through magnificent landscape to the edge of the Peak District.

For much of its length, the canal travels alongside the lovely River Goyt. Both the canal and the river are havens for plants and lots of  wildlife. The nature reserve of Goytside Meadows is home to an amazing variety of wild flowers.

This Peak Forest Canal offers 2 Scheduled Ancient Monuments along its 15-mile run – the wonderful, Marple Aqueduct with its three arches, and the historic Bugsworth Basin. Bugsworth Basin is at the end of this canal, where it originally connected with a horse-drawn tram-way that carried gritstone, limestone and burnt lime to be loaded at Bugsworth for onward shipping to Manchester, the North West and the Midlands.

The Peak Forest Canal runs from the Dukinfield Junction - on the Ashton Canal - to its terminal at Bugsworth Basin.  It is almost 15  miles long and has 16 locks - all in one flight at Marple!  There is just one branch found at Whaley Bridge which is half a mile long with no locks at all, which joins the main canal at Bridge No 37, a little north of Whaley Bridge.  The Macclesfield Canal joins the Peak Forest Canal at Marple Junction.

Boat size details for the Peak Forest Canal

The maximum boat length of the Peak Forest Canal that can navigate the Peak Forest Canal is 72' 8"  - Lock 11
Beam: 7' 3" - Lock 11
Height: 6' 5" - Bridge 1b  which is near Dukinfield
Draught: 4' 5" - cill of Lock 11

Details of Lock keys Required

A handcuff key is required for Bridge 1 the Stanley Lift Bridge.
A handcuff key and a windlass are required for Bridges 22 at Turflea Lift Bridge and 24 at Wood End Lift Bridge.
A Sanitary Station key is required for Bridge 25 the Higgins Clough Swing Bridge & Bridge 30 the Carr Swing Bridge.

Be aware that mooring is not permitted overnight in the Marple Flight. This is because water levels can fluctuate considerably when the locks are being used.

Despite initial appearance, there IS insufficient room through Hyde Bank Tunnel for two boats to pass. BUT it is essential to check the tunnel is clear before entering.


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