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Huddersfield Narrow

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Spring 2011

Keith Gibson

As it celebrates its bicentenary, Keith Gibson looks at the shortest and highest of our trans-Pennine canals, revealing much new information about the boats that used it

The Huddersfield Narrow is an extraordinary canal following a challenging 20-mile route with 74 locks and the longest and deepest canal tunnel in the country. It was hard for working boatmen, but the scenery and the charm of the riparian settlements reward today’s users. It is a canal that every boater and every towpath walker should experience. At the western end, brick-built Ashton-under-Lyne has one of the best markets in the North West and the canal is a vital feature in the centre of Stalybridge. At the eastern end Huddersfield is a much larger town with magnificent stone buildings; of the provincial towns and cities of England only Bristol has more Listed buildings. At both ends, where the canal was once hidden between multi-storey textile mills, many mills have now gone. Others are converted to new uses such as apartments and part of the University in Huddersfield. Green spaces soon appear. Between Mossley and Slaithwaite the canal passes through glorious and dramatic up…

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