Guide to the Pennine Canals
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal
Providing a delightful alternative Pennine link, this newly restored waterway boasts the highest stretch of canal in Britain. Linking Lancashire with Yorkshire, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal offers a stunning mixture of wooded valleys, Pennine stone villages and moorland views, whilst remaining close to its industrial roots.
Distance, time and locks
Stretching from Manchester in the west, this canal meets the Leeds Liverpool Canal via the Aire and Calder Navigation south of Leeds. Rising steeply from either end towards Standedge, the longest and highest tunnel in Britain. From the Lancashire end there are 32 locks in just 9 miles.
The trip from Sowerby Bridge takes you along the Calder and Hebble Navigation and onto the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. This route takes you to the outskirts of Manchester. This one-way trip takes around 40 hours, with 97 locks, so is recommended for experienced boaters only.
Going through the Standedge Tunnel needs to be pre-booked. A 'chaperone' assist the passage of each boat.
Places of interest
The Pennine villages of Uppermill, Delph, Diggle and Dobcross present a scene that has remained unchanged for many years with their stone weavers' cottages, clothiers' and merchants' houses and village squares. Visit Marsden, an important, traditional trans-Pennine crossing point, frequently used in the TV series Last of the Summer Wine.
The Rochdale Canal
Rising west from Sowerby Bridge, the Rochdale Canal follows the line of the River Calder, rising high into the Pennines. You can explore the length of the restored Rochdale Canal to its summit near Littleborough, then down through Rochdale into the centre of Manchester. The route goes through Manchester (as part of the Cheshire Ring).
The Rochdale canal and the South Pennine Ring are only advised for experienced boaters - and a minimum of 4 active crew due to the large number of locks.
Possible Holidays on the Pennine Canals
Click on a boat base below for more information and possible routes from that base.