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Peak Forest Canal

Peak Forest Canal - Moorings, Canalside Pubs, Barge Hire and Canal Holidays. 

The tabs above will give you information you need for the planning of your Peak Forest Canal narrowboat holiday, cycle route, towpath walk or favourite fishing spots with the canal guide being printable to use while on your canal adventure. Using information through our Peak Forest Canal guide, Peak Forest Canal map and photo galleries we can help you find narrowboat hire bases, mooring spots, places to eat at canalside pubs and restaurants, towns, villages and landmarks of interest. Information of all kinds is added all the time so if you can’t find some information at this time be assured that we are working hard to get it on the site as soon as we can.

The Peak Forest Canal is only fourteen miles long, but on its course from Dunkfield Junction on the outer reaches of Manchester and the adjoining Ashton Canal there is an awful lot of what makes a fine canal journey packed in. As well as winding into the Pennines through some remarkably lock free sections there are tunnels, a thirty metre high aqueduct, villages full of rural charm and a good choice of pubs punctuating the journey onwards, all the while offering the astounding Pennines as a dramatic backdrop.

Waterways Leisure is a valuable resource for information on canal pubs, barge hire and places to eat and drink. 

Canals and rivers with links to the Peak Forest Canal:

Macclesfield Canal; Huddersfield Narrow Canal; Ashton Canal

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With narrowboat hire bases spread along the Macclesfield and Huddersfield Narrow Canal there is a good choice as to where to start your narrowboat holiday from.

The Following Peak Forest Canal Guide is not only a guide for people on narrowboat holidays but is written to be just as handy for activities along the towpath and for people lucky enough to be boat owners with information of attractions, highlights, land marks, mooring spots, marina’s, food shops, canalside pubs and other places to eat in the settlements along the Peak Forest Canal. Both the canal map and canal guide can be printed off by clicking the icon on the right to be taken with you as you enjoy your time on the Peak Forest Canal.

The Peak Forest Canal runs for 15 miles between Ashton under Lyne, east of Manchester, and Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire. Around Ashton-under-Lyne the Huddersfield Canal veers to the left and the Peak Forest to the right at Dukinfield Junction, there are six miles of lock free cruising ahead with tunnels, a 30 meter high aqueduct, rolling hillsides and pubs punctuating the journey onwards.

The way out of Ashton-under-Lyne is marked by passing under the Dukinfield Bridge, immediately followed by the Tame Valley Aqueduct There are moorings around here for those who wish to stop and rest for a while.

Through the next stretch the wooded rural surroundings that enveloped us beyond Ashton-under-Lyne are put on hold as we pass through the industrial town of Hyde in Manchester’s seemingly never-ending outer reaches and under the crossing for the M67 that precedes it, not to worry though as the scenery returns to the woodland kind soon after leaving Hyde.

It is between Ashton and Romiley that the canal goes through the first of two tunnels on the Peak Forest Canal, the 160 metre long Woodley Tunnel. The approach to Woodley Tunnel with its overhanging trees and stonework surrounding walls is probably only beaten by the tree lined tranquillity on the approach to Leach Bridge a little further on.

In Romiley, as there is in Woodley, there is opportunity to shop and restock or to visit a pub. Leaving the canal around Bridge 14 and walking a short distance uphill can lead you to either a supermarket that sits near the canal or up onto the shopping street, both are easily accessable.  Romiley marks the end of the urban sprawl and beyond the Hyde Bank Tunnel the canal twists through rolling wooded countryside, skirting the western edge of the idyllic Brabyns Park which feels very distant from the urban sprawl of Manchester, the only nuisance here is the railway line which follows the path of the canal to varying degrees on the way in to Marple.

Marple is a very memorable area giving some great experiences of the Peak Forest Canal, primarily the impressive 30 meter high Marple Aqueduct over the wooded valley floor over the River Goyt and a stretch containing all 16 locks on the Peak Forest Canal on the Marple Flight. During the flight the canal winds up into Marple under old brick road bridges and offering outstanding scenery to the left over the Goyt Valley seen between the ever present collar of trees surrounding the canal, above which lies the junction to the Macclesfield Canal.

Once the exertion of the locks has faded the upper reaches of the Peak Forest and 6 more miles of lock free cruising can be enjoyed amongst a truly wonderfully rural backdrop. The canal runs high up along the side of the valley giving far ranging views over rolling hills, farmland, moorland, woodland hugging the valley side with predominantly woodland to the right and far reaching views over the Goyt Valley to the left. The canal passes the village of Strines marked by some well manicured gardens mixed with the woodland as the canal heads towards the attractive town of Disley. There are amenities in Disley, even a golf course for a diversion and to see the Peak District from another angle, and always the obligatory pubs are never far away.

The canal winds through the Goyt Valley towards first New Mills and Furness Vale which is a pleasant village catering well to the boating types with pubs, shops and attractive moorings. The High Stree of New Mills is a five or so minute walk from the marina area and after a walk uphill crossing over the River Goyt there are plentiful shops and a few pubs as well as a Heritage Centre all the while with a fantastic backdrop of rolling hills. It is from New Mills and beyond Furness Vale that we regrettably have to share space with the busy A6 for some time but the backdrop of the Peak District helps soften the blow. 

The canal runs to it’s end at Whaley Bridge but not before running past Bugsworth Basin which has been beautifully restored, both of which are worth a stopover to enjoy a pint and a bite to eat before contemplating whether to retrace your path, head to the Macclesfield Canal around Marple or move onto the Huddersfield Canal, it is a fine place to sit and contemplate such matters.

Waterways Leisure is a valuable resource for information on canal pubs, barge hire and places to eat and drink. In addition we also offer a range of country clothing and country wear and clothing which is suitable to be embroidered with our top embroidery service.