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Macclesfield Canal

Macclesfield Canal runs from Marple to Hardings Wood Junction, linking the Peak Forest Canal with the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Map of the Macclesfield Canal and surrounding waterways

Facts & Stats

26.25 miles


The length of the Macclesfield Canal.

13 locks

From Marple to Hardings Wood Junction

There are no branches or other navigable connections to the Macclesfield Canal.

The Macclesfield Canal was built to provide a more direct line with Manchester and the Potteries but suffered from competition from the railways. It is famous for its beautiful turn-over bridges, which were constructed so that there was no need to unhitch the horse when the towing path changed sides across the canal.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 73′ 11″ (22.54 metres) – Lock 1, Bosley
  • Beam: 7′ 4″ (2.23 metres) – Lock 1, Bosley
  • Height: 7′ 2″ (21.18 metres) – Bridge 18 (Grimshaws), just south of Higher Poynton
  • Draught: 3′ 6″ (1.08 metres) – Bridge 18 (Grimshaws)

Navigation authority

Canal & River Trust


Useful Info

  • Bridge 22 (Turflea Lift Bridge) requires a windlass and handcuff key
  • Bridge 47 (Broadhurst Swing Bridge) requires a Sanitary Station key
  • Bridge 49 (Royal Oak Swing Bridge) requires a Sanitary Station key

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.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

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