The Peak Forest Canal Part 1

Canal Postcards: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2020

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis examines how postcard publishers captured both the green serenity and canalside industry of the Peak Forest 

One of the issues when collecting old postcards, by which I mean those from before the modern cruising era, is that places that have significance now were often not covered by publishers. This applies to the Peak Forest Canal – its junction with the Ashton Canal and its first few miles to Hyde are not, so far as I know, covered by older cards, though a number of modern cards exist of the junction. In the early years of the 20th century, much of this area was covered by collieries, ironworks and railway lines, and the trees, which now line the canal, would have struggled to exist in the smoky atmosphere. On my own local canal, I remember setting out to revise the text of a towpath guide, which I had written around 1980, only to find that, 20 years later, much of what I had described was hidden behind a screen of greenery. Another interesting aspect is how many of the small towns and villages along the canal had their own publisher of postcards.…

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at

The Peak Forest Canal featured image