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Sowerby Bridge West Yorkshire England

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Canals

The Rochdale Canal

Opened in 1804 and designed by the famous canal engineer William Jessop, the Rochdale Canal swings north through the Pennines to terminate in Manchester. Over it's 33 mile length it incorporates 92 locks and passes through some of the most desolate yet picturesque countryside in England. Fed by reservoirs high in the surrounding hills it was a water carrying canal aswell as supporting commerce.By the 1960's the whole canal was derelict but in October 1995 12 million was donated by National Lottery funding to cover restoration costs. This work is planned for completion in 2004, the 200th anniversary of the opening. The old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway was built alongside the canal and is still very much in use today. This makes it very easy to walk a stretch of the canal and catch a train back to your starting point.


The Calder & Hebble Navigation

Running from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge the Calder and Hebble is called a "Navigation" rather than a canal because much of its length is in fact a river and a continuation of the Aire and Calder Canal. It was engineered by another renowned canal builder of the 18th century, John Smeaton. The work started in 1759 and the canal opened in 1764. However a devastating flood in 1768 meant that much of the canal was later rebuilt. The actual canal runs for only 5 miles before joining the Rochdale Canal at Sowerby Bridge. Within this distance there is a junction with the Dewsbury arm at Thornhill Double Locks and access to the Huddersfield Broad Canal at Cooper Bridge Junction. The nearby Huddersfield Narrow Canal is also being restored. Although small it contains the highest pound in the UK (abt 600ft above sea level) and the longest canal tunnel in Britain. (Stanedge, 5Km)