The Bridgewater Canal, also known as the 'Duke's Cut' was built by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mine at Worsley. Coal was needed in large quantities to fuel the industrial revolution, the canal enabled coal and other goods to be transported efficiently and cheaply to the rapidly expanding towns and cities. The canal was opened in 1761 from Worsley to Manchester, and later extended from Manchester to Runcorn, and then from Worsley to Leigh.
The Bridgewater Canal at Lymm
The 65km (39 mile) broad beam canal is the strategic link between the North and South canal network stretching from Runcorn to Leigh, today it forms part of the popular boat cruising route known as the Cheshire Ring. The Bridgewater connects with the Trent and Mersey Canal at Preston Brook, Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh, The Rochdale Canal and The Manchester Ship Canal in Manchester. Often considered to be the first "true" canal, it required the construction of an aqueduct to cross the River Irwell, one of the first of its kind. The 40 miles of canal is unusual for having no locks along its length. A notable feature of the canal is the Barton Swing Aqueduct across the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Bridgewater canal at Walton
Wildlife on the canal includes herons, swallows, mute swans, moorhens, grey wagtails. long-tail tits and black-headed gulls. The canal is also home to the rare Freiburg's Screwmoss, as well as other aquatic plant life.
The Bridgewater Way scheme is a regeneration project that will create a 65km/39 mile leisure route for walkers and cyclists along the historic canal. The project is a fresh approach to the use of the towpath as a connection between communities around the Mersey Basin and the North West.