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Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal

Conceived to link Manchester with Bolton and Bury, the canal was opened in 1797, and in 1808 was extended down five locks to the River Irwell.  Built to carry coal, the canal was originally planned with narrow locks, but whilst being built the locks were altered to become broad.


Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

15.75 miles


The length of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, comprising a main line of 8 miles to Prestolee Locks, then a 4.75 miles branch to Bury and a 3 mile branch to Bolton.

17 locks

3 tunnels

Two in Salford (31 metres and 45 metres) and one in Bury (129 metres)

Connecting to the River Irwell

The first 500-metre section of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal at Middlewood was re-opened to navigation in 2008. It connects with the river Irwell through the £600 million Middlewood Locks commercial development site. 

Funding for the £4.2 million of this first phase of restoration was supported by European Objective Two Funding, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Salford City Council.

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.

Local activities