Route Info | Boats | Map overview of route | Cruising Notes | Maps & Guides | Links | Pub Guide


You can do this route from :
Reedley Marina.

Reedley Marina



Take a trip back in time to see life in the 19th century, with steam powered Mills powering vast Cotton Mills , pretty stone cottages, and beautiful scenery in the Yorkshire Dales , and take a steam engine railway trip to Haworth home of the Bronte sisters.

Visit the magnificent 900 year old Norman Castle at Skipton which has been called the most handsome town along this Canal.

Take another steam engine railway ride at Skipton, visit the magnificent dwellings of the 19th Century Industrial millionaires of this region and negotiate the famous Bingley Five-Rise staircase locks.

Saltaire is now a World Heritage Site, and is built in the Italianate style, giving it an enduring beauty and charm.

Large textile Mills at Shipley

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 7 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 8.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 45.00 hours

Total Distance : 77.00 miles

Number of Locks : 66

Number of Tunnels : 2

Number of Aqueducts : 0

Read the Cruising Notes

Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holiday

Read our cruising notes.


Download the Cruising Notes

We also have the cruising notes available for download in PDF (acrobat Reader)

Download our cruising notes.





Cruising Notes

Day 1

In the distance on a clear day you can see the summit of Pendle Hill (1831 ft high), this is an attractive part of the canal unspoilt by industry , with ever-changing views, cruise north leaving Burnley behind you.

Pendle Village mill is located beside the canal between bridges 138 and 139, and is 80,000 sq ft of shopping and also tea rooms with Victorian courtyard, in the site of the old Smith and Nephew textile mill built in 1885.

Good moorings just south of Bridge 140 together with an attractive children's playground.
The canal winds it way following the hillside but at Nelson it crosses the valley on a minor aqueduct and begins to climb the pretty Barrowford locks and passes Barrowford reservoir.

Nelson's centre has been redeveloped and now has a large covered shopping precinct.

There are still some attractive terraces of stone cottages in the village of Barrowford which lies a short walk to the west of the locks.
Moor for the night at Barrowford Visitor Moorings just before the locks.
It is 2.5 hours to here.

The beautifully restored Grade 2 listed 17th century Park Hill was once the home of Roger Bannister – the 1st 4 minute miler – but now it houses Pendle Heritage Centre.
The Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford is open daily and includes a Garden Tearoom, 18th Century Walled Garden, Cruck Frame Barn, a Parlour shop, Tourist Information Centre, Pendle Arts Gallery.
The Museum explains the fascinating history of Park Hill and the ancient Bannister family. It tells about the mysterious Pendle Witches of the seventeenth century and of George Fox, whose vision on Pendle Hill inspired the international Quaker movement.

Day 2

Lonely stone farms frame the distant mountains, and soon the Foulridge Tunnel is reached.
Its 1640 yards long and is controlled by traffic lights.

The Foulridge Tunnel was a major construction achievement, but is today best known for the story of a cow who once swam the whole length of the tunnel. The tunnel is straight enough that you can see right through it, though the roof is quite low in places. Most of it was built using the 'cut and cover' method - but despite this, unexpectedly difficult rock conditions meant that construction took a whole six years. Travel through the tunnel, which has no towpath, is only possible in one direction at a time, so traffic lights control a ten-minute window in each direction each hour.
In 1912, a cow named Buttercup fell into the canal by the southern portal. Rather than wade out as usual, she chose to swim the whole 1640 yards to the northern end, where she was revived with brandy by drinkers in the nearby Hole in the Wall pub which is sadly no longer there.

Foulridge Wharf, also at the northern portal, was built to unload cargoes of raw cotton from North America for weaving in the Lancashire mills. There is a tea-room on the wharf and the New Inn Pub in the village. Foulridge Lower Reservoir, built to supply water to the canal, was constructed almost directly above the tunnel.

The lovely countryside continues through this remote and beautiful landscape.
Salterforth off to your right is a small village of narrow streets and terraced houses, there is a childrens playground to the north of Bridge 151 and the lovely Anchor Inn is canalside.
Barnoldswick is set away from the canal to your left - it is steeped in living history. Its ancient heritage dates back to pre-Roman times. Nowadays, stone built streets surround a traditional town centre with a restful square at the heart of the community. The town even has a unique time of its own, with a clock based on the 12 different letters in Barnoldswick!
The town is well known for its industrial heritage. Aside from having the highest point of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Barnoldswick is famous for being the place where Rolls-Royce developed the jet engine in the second World War. There's also the town's most iconic landmark - Bancroft Mill with its working steam engine with free entry on most Saturdays. It originally drove some 1250 weaving looms and generates over 600 hp.
The Greeber top lock starts the long descent into Leeds.
The scenery is still beautiful, with countless hillocks and distant mountains, as the canal twists and turns along its meandering path.
Moor near the small village of East Marton, there are Moorings on the right, and the Cross Keys Inn awaits you on the left bank, also the Abbots Harbour a cosy restaurant serving home cooked food just past bridge 162 on the left, or via a lane by the Cross Keys.
The 268 mile long Pennine way joins the towpath for a short distance here, you will notice that the stones here abound with fossils.

The 6 Bank Newton locks interrupt the outstanding scenery with excellent views across the valley to the hills and moors beyond.
The canal crosses the river over the stone built Priest Holme aqueduct and more locks take you around Gargrave.
Locks 41-30 require a Handcuff key which should should have in a cupboard in the boat, or hanging up.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park borders the Canal. Some of England's finest walking country is contained in this area of fine views, deep valleys , open moorland and rugged hills.
Gargrave is a much visited attractive village with some pretty stone cottages.
There are various pubs and local stores.
Moor here for the night on the Gargrave Visitor moorings, it is 6 hours to here.

Day 3

The canal now turns south east towards Skipton with open countryside and moorland topped hills, and begins a 17 mile lock free pound (after lock 30). However there is an abundance of swing bridges that require a Handcuff Key and some that require a Watermate Key!!
Skipton is soon approached and there are moorings on the towpath side only after bridge 176 and before and after bridge 178 .
Skipton is probably the most handsome town along the Leeds and Liverpool canal. You can moor about one minutes walk away from the centre. As the gateway to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, people travel the length and breadth of the country to visit this charming market town.

With its famous 900 year old castle, romantic ruined priory and historic cobbled High Street, Skipton is endlessly rich both in history and outstanding natural beauty.
Skipton Castle is a magnificent Norman castle with 17th century additions that dominates the High Street. The 6 massive round towers have survived since the 14th Century. Open daily 10-6pm. Over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England and is well worth a visit at any season of the year.
Visitors can explore every corner of this impressive history-rich castle, which withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War. View the Banqueting Hall, the Kitchen, the Bedchamber and Privy. Climb from the depths of the Dungeon to the top storey of the Watch Tower.

The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is a heritage railway 1 mile north of Skipton, catch a bus from the town centre. A 4 mile round trip either steam or diesel powered.
The preserved railway was part of the former Midland Railway route from Skipton to Ilkley.

On leaving Skipton the canal continues down the valley of the River Aire , with breathtaking views.
The village of Bradley has an attractive waterfront, and there is a pub the Slaters Arms ¼ mile up the hill , take the 1st turning on the right over the lift bridge. Visitor moorings on the tow path side only.
The village of Kildwick has some nice restored Canal buildings, now private residences. There are good moorings here. The streets are extremely steep and one goes under the canal. Kildwick is steeped in history, St Andrew’s is a historically significant church. Fragments of 9th century crosses have been excavated from its walls, evidence of the Anglos Saxon church built here before the Norman Conquest.
Silsden is to the west of Bridge 191a , a well contained stone built industrial town with attractive canal wharves and an old corn mill dating from 1677. It is close to the Yorkshire Dales, and there are plenty of shops near the canal. Silsden was mentioned in the 1086 Doomsday Book (Siglesdene) as the most important village in Craven. Industry came with the canal and the Industrial Revolution. The town hosted a number of mills none of which now operate in their original form.
Moor in Silsden for the night it is 6.5 hrs to here,

Day 4

The green wooded hills hide the town of Keighley, and the constant succession of lift bridges impede the boats progress. All require a handcuff key.
There is a stores just south of Bridge 197 and an attractive mooring by woods to the east of Bridge 195.
Compared with other industrial towns Keighley is a clean and pleasant town with a large new shopping centre.
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a 5-mile-long branch line that served mills and villages in the Worth Valley and is now a heritage railway line. It runs from Keighley to Oxenhope. The line was made famous by the film The Railway Children.
The train stops at the lovely village of Haworth which is is best known as the home of the literary Bronte sisters who lived with their father in the local parsonage. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte, were the authors of some of the greatest books in the English language. Haworth Parsonage was their much-loved home and Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were all written here. Haworth Parsonage, next to the interesting churchyard, is now a museum known as Bronte Parsonage Museum .It has 19th century furniture and personal mementoes of the family. The dining room is furnished with pieces bought by Charlotte Bronte from her royalties from Jane Eyre. It is set out just as when the three sisters discussed their literary projects in the evenings.

Set between the unique village of Haworth and the wild moorland beyond, this homely Georgian house still retains the atmosphere of the Brontes time. The rooms they once used are filled with the Brontes' furniture, clothes and personal possessions. Here you can marvel at the handwriting on their tiny manuscript books, admire Charlotte's wedding bonnet and imagine meeting Emily's pets from her wonderfully lifelike drawings. Gain an insight into the place and objects that inspired their works.

The writing desks belonging to the three sisters are always on display, and their other personal possessions are changed on a yearly basis so that you can always be sure of seeing something new.

Cliffe Castle in Keighley was originally the home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer Henry Butterfield, and built in the 1880's. Visitors can see sparkling Victorian rooms and furniture, paintings, and decorative art. Special galleries deal with natural history, archaeology and social history and there is an internationally important display of stained glass by Morris and Co.

If you decide to moor up in Riddlesden then you must visit The National Trusts East Riddlesden Hall, a 17th-century manor house with romantic, intimate gardens. Friendly room guides bring the house to life and share the fascinating stories. Just south of Bridge 197a. The hall was built in 1642 by a wealthy Halifax clothier, James Murgatroyd. There is a medieval tithebarn in the grounds.

There is a nice pub the Marquis of Granby by bridge 197.

The impressive and famous Bingley Five-Rise staircase locks mark the end of the long level pound from Gargrave., and bring the canal steeply down into Bingley. These locks were built in 1774 .
Offside visitor moorings have been created adjacent to the Damart Mill just before bridge 202. There are pubs south and west of Bridge 202, and you should turn around just after or before the bridge.
It is 5 .75 hrs to Bingley.

Bingley is listed in the Doomsday book of 1086 as Bingheleia. Steeped in history going through all the ages starting with the Normans, Medieval and Tudor through to the Industrial Revolution.
The Old White Horse Inn is one of the oldest surviving buildings, a Grade II listed coaching inn, built in the mid 17th century. There has been an inn on the site since 1379. Note the two stone lanterns on the gable which signify the building was once owned by the Order of the Knights of St John.
During the Industrial Revolution Bingley had several mills and a tannery. The Bingley Building Society was also formed at that time.

The town has plenty of local shops, a street market, banks and the Little Theatre.
Most textile mills have closed except for the Damart factory.

If you are running out of time turn at Bingley, if you are OK then continue onto Shipley

Leaving Bingley trees lead to Dowley Gap and the 2 staircase locks. The canal crosses the River Aire over a massive stone aqueduct.

Soon you will come to the village of Saltaire -
Saltaire is a purpose-built "model" Victorian industrial village and was built in the mid nineteenth century by the Victorian philanthropist Sir Titus Salt to provide self-contained living space for the workers at his alpaca wool mill - a welcome alternative to the then "dark satanic mills" of Bradford and nearby Leeds.

More recently (in the 1980s) Salt's Mill was converted by the late Jonathan Silver into shops and the "1853 Gallery" which houses a collection of the works of the famous artist, David Hockney (who was of course born in Bradford), a development which sparked a renaissance for the village.

Saltaire is built in the Italianate style, giving it an enduring beauty and charm. In December 2001, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You are free to wander around and enjoy this Victorian industrial model village. There are places to eat, some shops, a lovely park and adventure playground for the children.

Other buildings in the village have now been similarly transformed into shops and licensed restaurants and pubs (just a little touch of irony here - as Sir Titus was a staunch advocate of abstinence from alcohol !)

Village Moorings near Bridge 207e

The Shipley Glen Tramway is the oldest working cable tramway in Britain and is near Saltaire.
Dating from 1895, the line was built to serve the local beauty spot of Shipley Glen near Saltaire in West Yorkshire. At nearly a quarter-mile in length, the woodland ride provides a pleasant alternative to the steep path.

A short walk brings a Cafe within reach as well as the rocks and woods of Shipley Glen. The bottom station allows access to Roberts Park and the River Aire and the delights of Saltaire with Salt's Mill and its famous Hockney Gallery.

Soon Shipley is reached with moorings by Gallows Bridge or Bridge 207B, with the town centre 5 minutes away. There is a canalside supermarket between bridges 207d and 208.
The town was built on textile and engineering industries, and large Mills can still be seen.

It is 2 hours from Bingley to Shipley, turn just after bridge 20

It is 7.5 hours from Silsden Wharf to Shipley Wharf

Day 5-8
It is 22.5 hrs back to Reedley Marina, so about 7 hours per day


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.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)

Sorry, we can't display boats for this route currently.

Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.


Routes Menu


The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.