LIVERPOOL AND RETURN FROM REEDLEY
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Reedley to Liverpool is a very pleasant cruise, taking you through some beautiful countryside, cruising through places such as Burnley, Blackburn and Wigan.
There is plenty to see in Liverpool- like the Beatles story Experience or visit the Cavern Club where it all began, Liverpool Cathedral, Anfield Stadium, Merseyside Maritime Museum and various Art galleries and Museums. Liverpool has the largest collection of museums and galleries in the UK outside London, and more parks than Paris!
Albert Dock is one of Britains top heritage attractions, situated in a spectacular riverside setting.
Leaving the marina, you will shortly cruise towards Burnley Wharf. Here, you will find the Toll House Museum, and near to the town centre is the Weavers' Triangle. Between bridges 129B and 130B you will find a magnificently preserved C19th industrial district. There are mills, engine houses and weaving sheds, as well as terraces of houses from the period. You can obtain an information leaflet and town guide from the Tourist Information Centre or the Visitor Centre at Burnley Wharf, www.weaverstriangle.co.uk, 01282 452403.
The canal twists and turns, then after a small aqueduct before Godley Bridge 130H, you will cruise along Burnley Embankment, a straight stretch of canal, before the sharp right bend at Finsley Gate Bridge 130E.
Another bend, this time to the left, passing over the M65, will take you to the mouth of Gannow Tunnel, which is 559yds long. After the tunnel, the canal gives the motorway a wide berth to the right before passing under it twice at bridges 124B and 124A.
On this straight part of canal, you can moor for the night. The village of Hapton is not far away to the left. A typically Northern town with rows of terraced houses, there is a pub called The Hapton Inn, (01282 779004), where home-cooked food is available, along with real ales.
Once moored, you will have cruised for around 2 hours and covered 6 miles.
Today you will encounter your first locks as you head towards Simpson Fold Bridge No. 85, just beyond Blackburn, 21 miles away.
So, leaving the mooring, you will cruise a series of right hand curves alongside the M65, through the Calder Valley. On a clear day you may be able to see Pendle Hill (1,831ft high). This stretch of the canal is unspoilt by its industrial heritage.
A little further along is Clayton-Le-Moors, where you might want to stop for lunch or liquid refreshment. There is a handy pub beside bridge 114A, called Albion. There are moorings outside, with a beer garden. Children and dogs are welcome.
Next you will go under the motorway in a big left hand loop, which takes you back over the motorway and then to Rishton, a small C19th town, owing it's existence to the cotton mill, and more especially, the Petre family, local landowners. The Petre family were 'Lords of the Manor' and owned Dunkenhalgh Estate.
Cruising on, you will be in the suburbs of Blackburn, and navigating the six Blackburn lock, lowering you by around 400ft. A little place called Cherry Tree, beside the canal, to your right, is a handy place to moor if you need to go shopping or want a takeaway.
As you leave Blackburn, the canal straightens as it goes under the M65, through a heavily wooded valley. Then the next place of interest is Withnell Fold, which was purpose-built to house the workers from the paper mill, sadly no longer standing.
It is just along the canal here, where Simpson Fold Bridge is located. You can moor along here for the night if you wish. Just a short walk south of bridge 86 is a pub called Golden Lion. Children are welcome.
You will have cruised for 21 mils in just over 8 hours, and navigated 6 locks.
Today's cruising will take you as far as Ince-In-Makerfield, 12 miles away, via a series of 28 locks.
From Withnell Fold to the outskirts of Chorley the canal is pretty quiet, except for the ever-present motorway. At bridge 78AAA it again crosses the canal, just as you reach Chorley, to the right of the canal.
If you want to look around Chorley, a town that retains its market traditions. Right by Botany Bridge 78A is Astley Hall, in Astley Park. Set in 105 acres of wooded parkland, and beside an ornamental lake, Astley Hall is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture. For opening times, call 01257 515555.
Botany Bay itself, is a themed shopping centre in a converted mill. Canalside, so it is easy accessible from bridge 78A.
Cruising out of Chorley, the motorway at last veers off to the left, away from the canal. As you cruise onward towards Adlington, you may catch a glimpse of the Pennines to the west.
If you want to moor up at Adlington, there are a selection of pubs, for example, Bridge, which has moorings; Waggon and Horses, serving home-cooked food, children welcome; White Bear, with bar food, children welcome; Mariners Coffee Shop, east of bridge 69, home-cooked meals, tea and coffee.
For a while the canal now meanders through open countryside as you cruise towards the Wigan flight of 21 locks. These locks will take you to Wigan Junction. You can find a mooring along here for the night, which is close to Ince-In-Makerfield.
You have cruised 12 miles in just under 9 hours, and navigated 28 locks.
Today's destination is Halsall Hill Bridge No. 24, 17 miles away.
As you're still in Wigan, you might like to visit Wigan Pier, at the bottom of the flight of locks, which is an Heritage Centre. The town itself is very industrialised, with tall chimneys, and has a covered market hall. There is a pub/restaurant here called Orwell, with canalside seating. Children are welcome.
As you leave the suburbs of Wigan, you will cruise through the pretty and rural Douglas Valley. About halfway between Wigan Junction and Appley Bridge, are two pretty villages – Crooke and Gathurst. At Crooke there is a pub called Crooke Hall Inn, near bridge 47, serving real ale and food, with its own moorings. At Gathurst there is a restaurant called Baby Elephant, that serves traditional Indian food.
Just past Gathurst you will encounter three swing bridges, before reaching Appley Bridge and the Appley Locks.
Appley Bridge is a pretty canalside Hamlet. It has two churches and a railway station, and is well worth a visit if you like quaint villages. Perhaps you'd like to stop for lunch at The Boathouse Pub and Kitchen.
The next stretch of canal runs almost parallel to the busy A59. To your right is Parbold, a pretty village, particularly near the canal bridge, where there is an ancient sail-less windmill. New housing is taking over the remainder of the village. Again, there are two churches in the village, with tall spires. High on a hill you will see Ashurst's Beacon, built in 1798 by Sir William Ashurst, in anticipation of a French invasion.
Canalside at bridge 37, is an old fashioned tea room and gift shop called Yours is the Earth. Home-made food and cakes and ice cream are available here.
At Junction Bridge you must continue straight on – don't turn right. You will now be cruising through the former canal village of Burscough, where if you need provisions, this would be an ideal place to moor up. There are village stores, a garage, bank, post office and takeaways.
A few more swing bridges and you will soon cruise through a large caravan park on one side of the canal and pretty woods in which is situated Scarisbrick Hall, on the other. A straight stretch then takes you to Halsall village.
You can moor up near bridge 24 (or anywhere along here) for the night. There are many pubs, but the nearest is Saracen's Head, canalside at Halsall Warehouse Bridge. Food and real ales are available. Children are welcome until 8pm, and there is a play area in the garden.
You have cruised 17 miles and navigated 6 locks in around 7¾ hours.
Today you will cruise into Liverpool, passing Aintree Racecourse.
Leaving the mooring, the first village you pass, to your right, is Haskayne. There are just two houses – the old post office and opposite this, a thatched cottage. There is more to the village, but it is set back from the canal. There is no church, but there are two pubs called The Ship – real ales, food, children welcome, waterside terrace; Kings Arms, which is 100yds north of bridge 21A, serving real ales and snacks.
Between Haskayne and Lydiate it is fairly straight, and you may see many fishermen along the banks, as the canal is well-stocked.
You will notice more habitation as you cruise towards Maghull, a small town that is spread both sides of the canal. Next is Melling, very similar to Maghull. Through a swing bridge and a wide right-hand bend which takes you to Aintree, with the racecourse to your left. You will now be on the outskirts of Liverpool.
As it becomes more built-up, you will cruise around Litherland, to your left, then on to Bootle, a suburb of Liverpool.
Follow the canal until you reach Canal Terminus, Bridge A, Eldonian Village. There is no winding hole, but the canal should be wide enough.
If you want to moor here to go and explore, that's fine, but it would be advisable to turn and go back to Linacre Pipebridge, 3 miles away to moor for the night.
Alternatively if you book well in advance you can book a mooring at Salthouse Lock , a vibrant area full of restaurants and plenty to see, and there are a lot of tours starting from here. You need to book passage to here , see website links below for details. Passage is not available on Tuesdays.
There are many, many things to see and do in Liverpool. Possibly the best way to find out about what's on offer is to visit www.visitliverpool.com, or call the Tourist Information Centre on 0151 233 2008.
You may like to visit such attractions as Albert Dock www.albertdock.com, Tate Liverpool www.tate.org.uk/liverpool, The Cavern Club www.cavernclub.org.
Pubs and restaurants are in abundance, so there will be something to suit all tastes.
Once you have turned and have moored up at Linacre Pipebridge, you will have cruised for 20 miles in around 8¼ hours.
Today you will start your return journey to Reedley.
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
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