Canal history

The Great Wall of Todmorden, 1881, during major works. Photo courtesy of Pennine Horizons Digital Archive.The Great Wall of Todmorden, 1881, during major works. Photo courtesy of Pennine Horizons Digital Archive.

Special features

The Rochdale Canal has over 91 locks, 100 bridges, a number of wharfs, 2 major aqueducts and 2 tunnels.

Black Pit aqueduct
Black Pit aqueduct is one of the principal aqueducts on the canal and comprises a low four-arched structure over the River Calder, just below its confluence with the Hebden Water it incorporates a carved stone head on the north face of the aqueduct, facing towards Black Pit.

Lock No. 19 Guillotine gate
During the 1920s the road crossing the canal in Todmorden was widened. To allow the lock to remain full length it is believed that a guillotine gate was installed. This vertically-rising gate takes up much less space than the conventional mitred gates at the head of the lock. The lock chamber itself can be shorter, as there is no need for the gates to swing inwards.

The Great Wall of Todmorden
The embankment wall was built to carry the railway along the valley edge and it was calculated at the time that about 4 million bricks were used in its construction. Following completion of the Summit Tunnel the line was opened from Manchester to Normanton on 1st March 1841.

Hebden and Fielden Wharf
Hebden Wharf in Hebden Bridge had a loading basin or arm sufficient for one boat during its operation. During the canal restoration the arm was restored and a slipway and dry-dock incorporated. The restored and improved Fielden Wharf in Todmorden is used by local people, visitors and boat-owners. It offers a canal-side amenity with moorings and sanitary facilities for boat users, flower beds, picnic tables, and a number of sculptures designed by a local artist and school children.

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