Canal history

Rochdale Canal Company flat, Primrose. Photo courtesy of Pennine Horizons Digital Archive.Rochdale Canal Company flat, Primrose. Photo courtesy of Pennine Horizons Digital Archive.

The Towpath Trail

Despite the fact that the Rochdale is the Everest of Canals, 32 miles of gentle towpath walking or cycling allows you to climb into the South Pennine hills with ease.

As you do so you can not only enjoy the peace and serenity of this unique landscape, but also learn about the astonishing history of the Canal, the revolution it brought to industry and the social upheaval it reflected in its calm waters.

As the hills rise around you, you will come across unusual sculptures, totems of information and plaques on particularly interesting features that each tell you part of the Canal’s story.

Along your route you will celebrate a poetic “liquid equinox” at the canal’s highest point, you will trace trade routes in Todmorden, you will stroke horses and hawks in Hebden and Hawksclough and you will figure out a fender in Luddendenfoot.

Taken together, these form a Towpath Trail that might bring you to your destination eager to know more. If so, this website also has a wealth of quirky and interesting facts and figures about the Canal.