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Canals in Ashton under Lyne

Cavendish Mill, alongside the Ashton Canal
Cavendish Mill, alongside the Ashton Canal near Asda, now converted to apartments.

The canals of Ashton under Lyne have played an important part in the town's development as a cotton and industrial centre. Two hundred years ago, as the town began to grow, the area's coal mines thrived. The canal was used to transport the coal from the local mines to the new factories in Manchester. The canal was also used to bring in cotton and other raw materials and to take out finished textile and engineering products.

The earliest factories and mills were build near the river, with water-power being used to move the machinery. With the development of steam power, the later mills were built lining the banks of the canal for the convenience of transporting goods.

The first canal in the town was the Ashton Canal, running from Whitelands Basin to Manchester. A branch of this was built from Droylsden, through Daisy Nook, to Fairbottom and Hollinwood. Soon afterwards, the Peak Forest Canal was built from Whaley Bridge and Marple, joining the Ashton Canal at Portland Basin. Finally the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, running through Stalybridge, joined onto the Ashton Canal at Whitelands.

The canals are now used mostly for leisure, with walking, boating and fishing being very popular. The towpaths offer attractive level walks only minutes from the town centre.

Portland Basin, Ashton under Lyne, where the Ashton and Peak Forest Canals meet
Canalside apartments overlook Portland Basin, Ashton under Lyne, where the Ashton and Peak Forest Canals meet.

For more information on the canals in the area, including many photographs, follow these links:
The Ashton Canal
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal
The Peak Forest Canal
The Hollinwood Branch Canal (running through Daisy Nook)
Portland Basin Museum (alongside the Ashton Canal)

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