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Bridgewater Canal

The Bridgewater Canal runs from Castlefield Junction with the Rochdale Canal, in Manchester, to its terminus in Runcorn, with two arms: the Leigh Arm and the Preston Brook Branch.

Things to do nearby

Derelict and overgrown Frodsham Lock

Facts & Stats

39.1 miles

(62.9 km)

The length of the Bridgewater canal that is navigable. The main line of the canal is 28.1 miles (45.2 km).

0 locks

Across the two arms and the main line of the canal there are no locks

From Manchester to Runcorn

The Leigh Arm is 10.8 miles and runs from Waters Meeting in Stretford to the Leigh Arm of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Leigh. The Preston Brook Branch is just 0.8 miles and connects to Trent & Mersey Canal. 

The Bridgewater Canal is famous for being the first built for the Duke of Bridgewater to take coal from his mines at Worsley, where there were more than 40 miles of underground canals on more than one level. 

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: There are no locks to limit length
  • Beam: 14′ 9″ (4.5 metres)
  • Height – Leigh Branch: 8′ 6″ (2.6 metres); Height – main line: 11′ (3.4 metres)
  • Draught: 5′ (1.5 metres)


IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch – Preston Brook to Lymm and to Runcorn (including former Runcorn Locks)


IWA Manchester Branch – Hulme Lock Branch and Pomona Lock Link; Leigh Arm of Leeds and Liverpool to Waters Meeting (Stretford); Rochdale Canal to Waters Meeting (Stretford); Waters Meeting (Stretford) to the M6 Road Bridge at Lymm.

Useful Info

There is also a short spur link to the Manchester Ship Canal via Pomona Lock, 1.2 miles from Castlefield Junction.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

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