STALYBRIDGE AND RETURN FROM POYNTON
You can do this route from :
Lord Vernon's Wharf.
Higher Poynton is a pretty place to moor up, and the canal is wider here too. There are ducks and swans, and nearby is a recreation ground, also a pub just near Bridge 15 (Brownhills Bridge), called the Boar's Head. Children are welcome, and there is a garden with play area for the children.
The town of Stalybridge was the creation of the Industrial Revolution. In 1776 came the event that was to lead to the development of Stalybridge as a town - COTTON!
Cotton manufacture in the village was growing rapidly, and more water-powered mills were being built along the local steams as well as along the river.
Nelson Pit Visitor Centre is one of Poynton's hidden gems and is perfectly situated near to Poynton Marina for a relaxing afternoon.
Built on the site of a former colliery, this bijoux centre features displays about Poynton's mining history, the origins of the Middlewood Way and the local canal network.
Anson Engine Museum is also just a short walk from the Marina- it houses a unique collection of over 250 gas and oil engines, also a fantastic display showing the development of the internal combustion engine. The museum has a collection which tells the story of the engine from the cannon to the sophisticated, electronically controlled engine of the future.
The museum also has a steam section with two Robey engines; an A frame and a beam engine. Pride of place goes to the Stott engine that used to drive a cotton wadding mill in Hazel Grove.
The suggested mooring for the first night is nearly two hours away, at Marple Top Lock No. 16. This is the first lock at Marple Junction. Unless you get there early enough, you won't have time to go through the locks before dusk, as there are 15 of them, and you cannot stop mid-flight.
The Macclesfield Canal wends its way through largely unspoilt countryside, with little villages and occasional pubs along the way. You will very soon encounter a tall aqueduct over a railway. Looking to the west, you may glimpse the suburbs of Stockport and Manchester. Close to Eccles Bridge 3 at Goyt Mill, there is a fish and chip shop.
Soon, you will reach Marple Junction, where you will bear left and moor up, just before the Marple Locks. At Church Lane Bridge No. 2 there is another pub, the Ring O' Bells. It has a canalside patio and garden, and children are welcome.
You will have cruised for just less than two hours.
First task today is navigating the 16 Marple Locks, on the Peak Forest Canal. The first four are quite close together, the rest spaced further apart, making the total distance around a mile long. At this point, the canal is 500ft above sea level.
Not far from the canal, to the left, is the town of Marple. Ludworth Moor is quite nearby, where there are ruins of an old Celtic Druid's temple, known as 'Robin Hood's Picking Rods'.
Once through the locks, it's not far to Marple Aqueduct, a three-arched ancient monument, over the River Goyt. It stands at almost 100ft above the River. Then you will go through Hyde Bank Tunnel, which is 308yds long, continuing northwards, then over a couple of minor aqueducts, and cruising through Romily, Bredbury and Woodley, where you will cruise through the narrow Woodley Tunnel, 176yds long.
There are a couple of pubs in Romily -the Duke of York, east of Bridge 14; children welcome and outside seating, and the Friendship Inn, also east of Bridge 14; children welcome, but only until early evening.
Continuing northwards, as you make your way to Dunkinfield Junction, the canal becomes more suburban, and to the right, beyond the M67 Bridge, you can see the industrial town of Hyde, which is in Greater Manchester. There is a pub at Dunkinfield called the Globe Hotel, near Bridge No. 2, with an outdoor patio and children welcome.
Ashton under Lyne is at the junction, and if you have time you might like to moor up and have a look around.
At the junction, bear right onto the Huddersfield Canal, towards Stalybridge, where you can moor up for the night if you wish. You will need to turn around here in preparation for the return journey tomorrow. The canal is the focus of this bustling town, and there are many colourful boats moored along the canal. There is plenty of mooring space between locks 4W and 8W. In the distance, above the rooftops, you can make out the Pennines.
Pubs are plentiful in Stalybridge – Station Buffet Bar; Q Inn; Old Fleece Hotel; White House; Bridge Inn, and Bull's Head. The town is around 8 miles from Manchester city centre, and has its own football club.
For more information about Stalybridge, visit their website. (useful links below)
You will have cruised for nearly 7 and a half hours, cruised 9 miles and navigated 21 locks.
After turning your boat, you will make your return journey, which should take around 9 hours.
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.