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Land & Waterways

The Bridgewater Canal is a 65km (39 mile) canal stretching from Runcorn to Leigh in north west England. Constructed over 250 years ago by the Duke of Bridgewater, it is considered to be the first true canal in England. Built at one level, its route followed the contours of the land to avoid the use of locks.

The canal was constructed to transport the Duke of Bridgewater’s coal efficiently and cheaply from Worsley to the rapidly expanding towns and cities nearby. At its peak, over 3 million tonnes of traffic used the Bridgewater Canal. Nowadays it is a leisure waterway popular with many cruising boaters.

It also features one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways, the well-known "Barton Swing Aqueduct" which passes over the Manchester Ship Canal.

The Bridgewater Canal is owned and operated by The Bridgewater Canal Company Limited, part of Peel L&P, in conjunction with the Bridgewater Canal Trust. All income generated by the Bridgewater Canal from pleasure craft, fishing, drainage and sales of water for cooling purposes etc. is used to maintain and improve the canal and its local environment.

The Bridgewater Canal Company Limited is a statutory body responsible for navigation and maintenance of the Bridgewater Canal.

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