Not only is it an historic gem within Peel L&P’s portfolio,
but this year, The Bridgewater Canal, has attracted national and international
attention for both its industrious historical importance and its popularity
today among waterway enthusiasts.
In May, a group of parliamentary delegates from Indonesia
earmarked the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canal as canals of international
acclaim and visited on a fact-finding mission with a view to building a canal
General Manager of the Bridgewater Canal, Peter Parkinson, said:
“The delegates were interested in both the leisure and commercial uses of the
Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canal and were very impressed by what they saw.
It’s fantastic that our canals still hold world-wide significance.”
The Bridgewater Canal also achieved national recogniton at the
Inland Waterways Association (IWA) Parliamentarian of the Year award ceremony,
which took place at the House of Commons in March this year.
Peter attended the IWA dinner alongside MPs and Peers, as well as
representatives of several navigation authorities and other national
organisations. During the event, the IWA reminded MPs and Peers of the
importance of navigable waterways to the health and wellbeing of the UK
population and the contribution they make to the UK economy through
regeneration, tourism and leisure.
Peter said: “It’s fantastic that the Bridgewater Canal Company is
receiving the recognition it deserves and that we’re getting the opportunity to
meet those in power to help influence change and raise the profile of the
Bridgewater Canal and Peel.”
Canals and their history have also been a source of growing
fascination among the media and the Bridgewater Canal will have its moment to
shine when it will be featured in Channel 4’s Great Canal Journeys. Presenters
Prunella Scales and Timothy West spent a number of days filming on the canal
including Worsley Delph and Barton aqueduct - which is the world’s only
swinging aqueduct, and where Peel’s Archivist Dr Alexandra Mitchell was
interviewed by the pair.
Alex’s deep knowledge of both the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship
Canals has been in demand by TV researchers and she has shared detailed
historic information and artefacts with the teams’ producing Channel 5’s ‘How
the Victorians Built Britain’ and BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow, who filmed at
MediaCityUK this August.
Not only has the Bridgewater Canal’s profile soared but its
profits too with it this year achieving its biggest profit to date - £750,000.
Peter explains: “We’ll be reinvesting this healthy profit back into the canal
and will carry out important repair works to sluice No. 5 and Medlock tunnel
tipping gate, which are both in Castlefield.”
“Our canal engineer Chris Wareing, also invested almost £1million
this year in the replacement of the Road Bridge at Vicars Hall, which included
the construction of a 1km surfaced access road.”
The number of moorings have also increased this year at Castlefield
Marina bringing the total up to 22 and while the team have taken control of
moorings in Grappenhall and Warrington, there is real motivation to deliver new
moorings in Astley over the next year.
It’s not just boating enthusiasts who have a passion for the
Bridgewater Canal, walkers and cyclists are now enjoying the improved towpath
in droves thanks to a series of successful funding bids, helping to upgrade the
towpath and create the Bridgewater Way sustainable transport route.
Partnerships Manager Lisa Marsh said: “In the last ten years we’ve helped
secure around £6m of investment to create The Bridgewater Way which is now
almost 70% complete. We are currently awaiting a decision on a £200,000 bid
made to the GM Mayors Challenge fund to complete the Wigan section of the
Bridgewater Way, resulting in 20 miles of continuous sustainable transport
route from Wigan into Manchester City Centre and beyond to Altrincham.”
The Bridgewater Way has attracted the interest of international
cycling legend Chris Boardman who is fronting the ‘Made to Move’ campaign to
encourage more cycling throughout Greater Manchester and the team met with him
to discuss ways in which the Bridgewater Way can play its part.
As leisure usage of the canal increases, so does Peel Land and
Planning’s responsibility to keep people safe on its banks and water. Peter
added: “We’re members of the Bridgewater User Group and fully support the
‘share the space, drop your pace’ campaign and are closely working with both
the Manchester and Trafford Water Safety Group’s on their ‘don’t drink and
The growing success and popularity of the Bridgewater Canal is
down to the passion that the team have for preserving it as a leisure water way
for all to enjoy with the support of the local community.