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£5.5m Facelift For Bridgewater Canal - Worsley Delph to Re-open

Money found to beautify oldest industrial canal

Published on February 4th 2014.

£5.5m Facelift For Bridgewater Canal - Worsley Delph to Re-open

THE Bridgewater Canal is receiving cash.

The canal, which opened in 1761 as Britain’s first commercial canal, is to undergo a major facelift. 

In a dramatic transformation Worsley Delph, where coal carrying barges emerged from the Duke of Bridgewater’s mines, will be re-opened to boats and visitors for the first time in years. 

Salford City Council has been awarded a major slice of the total project costs from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who today confirmed a £3.6m grant to regenerate nearly five miles of canal between Boothstown and Barton. The council has also secured funding from a mixture of private and public sources.

The canal already recognised by UNESCO as an area of historical importance is said to attract 270,000 visitors each year. 

The planned regeneration is expected to boost numbers, adding an extra £2million each year to the Salford’s economy when finished.  

For the first time sightseers will be able to view Barton Swing Aqueduct in its full splendour plus the incredible structure will be lit for the first time in its life. Engineer Sir Edward Leader Williams built the aqueduct to carry the canal over the River Irwell.  

Barton Aqueduct


Barton Aqueduct


And in a dramatic transformation Worsley Delph, where coal carrying barges emerged from the Duke of Bridgewater’s mines, will be re-opened to boats and visitors for the first time in years. At the moment it is overgrown, the water is very shallow and is in need of tender loving care.

Deputy City Mayor David Lancaster said:  “This is wonderful news. We’re looking forward to revealing the historic Barton Aqueduct and people exploring the renovated Worsley Delph. There will be new paths, events and even a new playground in Dukes Drive Country Park for children to enjoy.

 “We’ll also build on the fantastic work done by our volunteers who have spent over 2,300 hours planting trees, clearing pathways and building new benches.”

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, Sara Hilton, said: “The Bridgewater Canal is of immense local and international importance due to its pivotal role at the start of the industrial revolution. 

"Today’s HLF grant will fund extensive restoration plans, including conserving and revealing the canals heritage features, including Worsley Delph and Barton Aqueduct, and vastly improve the surrounding paths and walking routes for better public access. We’re particularly delighted that the local community, who have been a key part of the project so far, will be heavily involved through an exciting range of volunteering and learning activities.”

Activities and events will start in April 2014 with volunteer conservation afternoons, bear hunts and Easter challenges.  There will also be heritage walks, bat walks and canal crafts.  You can find details on these and all the activities her.

Physical works will start early next year and are expected to be finished in summer 2016. 

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