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Peak Forest Canal

The Peak Forest Canal runs from Dukinfield Junction on the Ashton Canal to the canal’s terminus at Bugsworth Basin.

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

14.75 miles


The length of the. Peak Forest Canal that is navigable.

16 locks

(all in one flight at Marple)

Dunkinfield Junction to Bugsworth Basin

The Peak Forest Canal was built to ship Derbyshire limestone to Manchester. It reopened in 1974.

There is one branch, the Whaley Bridge Branch, which is 0.5 miles (0.8Km) long with no locks, and which joins the main line at Bridge 37, just north of Whaley Bridge.  The Macclesfield Canal joins the Peak Forest Canal at Marple Junction.

Bugsworth Basin was fully reopened at Easter 2005 following more than thirty years of work by The Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd, who adopted the unique canal and tramway interchange complex at Bugsworth Basin as its major project.  

The more important and larger of two southern terminals of the Peak Forest Canal, Bugsworth Basin had initially re-opened amid much celebration six years earlier. Unfortunately, the Society and BW had no option but to close the Basin again the following autumn due to excessive leakage and unacceptable water loss to the adjoining river Blackbrook. Substantial works to provide a long-term solution to leakage problem were undertaken in 2004. The Society’s volunteers continue to maintain the non-water areas for the benefit of all visitors and local residents, with the co-operation with English Heritage.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 72′ 8″ (22.15 metres) – Lock 11
  • Beam: 7′ 3″ (2.2 metres) – Lock 11
  • Height: 6′ 5″ (1.95 metres) – Bridge 1b (near Dukinfield)
  • Draught: 4′ 5″ (1.35 metres) – cill of Lock 11

Navigation authority

Useful Info

  • A handcuff key is required for Bridge 1 (Stanley Lift Bridge)
  • A handcuff key and a windlass are required for Bridges 22 (Turflea Lift Bridge) and 24 (Wood End Lift Bridge).
  • A Sanitary Station key is required for Bridge 25 (Higgins Clough Swing Bridge) and Bridge 30 (Carr Swing Bridge)
  • Mooring is not permitted overnight in the Marple Flight, as water levels can fluctuate considerably when the locks are in use.
  • Despite initial appearances, there is insufficient room through Hyde Bank Tunnel for two boats to pass. It is essential to check the tunnel is clear before entering.

HS2: Ashton & Rochdale Canals

The latest HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement proposals affect the Ashton Canal and Rochdale Canal in Manchester.