Our three canal heritage trails in the Greater Manchester area are now live on the Izi.travel website/mobile app. The versions for our own Waterway Explorer app will be coming soon.

Large inscribed boulder
Boulton Bowlder. Image CC BY SA David Dixon

It doesn’t feature on many tourist itineraries, but there was so much of interest in the Ashton area, we could only include a tiny fraction in our Ashton trail . The theme is ‘stones’, from cobbles to coal to donkey stones. Though we did throw in a few boats as well.

There was another trail we toyed with, which was radical religious communities, including the only surviving ‘gateway’ to the town, built by the Christian Israelites. It proved a bit too hard to get walkers from A-B round all the places, and stones also seemed a give walkers a sense of the materials around them as they walk.

Vulcan Works, Pollard Street, Holt Town.

Our Holt Town trail also takes walkers along the Ashton Canal, this time around an area now dominated by the Manchester City football stadium. The theme of this one was invisible heritage – things you just can’t see, which have nonetheless changed this part of Manchester, from the Ice Age to Shooter’s Brook.

The first trail we published was the Underground Ancoats circular walk, produced for the Ancoats Canal Society, who help keep the Ashton and Rochdale Canals in their area looking lovely. The theme of this one is underground heritage, from coal mine tunnels to underground rivers.

Want to use our trails or the archive of canal heritage materials?

We’re happy to make the materials available to you, so you can use our trails, adapt them or make your own. As well as what we’ve used in these three trails, we’ve gathered a database of dozens of archive images and pieces of useful information about the heritage of the Ashton and Rochdale canals. They’re all available on a creative commons licence.

If you or your organisation would like to use the database or to simply have a version of these trails on your own website, let us know.