Where are the Canals

The Huddersfield Narrow and Broad canals represent the shortest route across the Pennine hills and significantly reduced commercial carrying times between the trading centres of Lancashire and Yorkshire and hence the ports of Liverpool and Hull.
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The Canals are easily accessible from the motorway and road network.  For Ashton, come off the M60 at Junction 23 and follow the brown signs for Portland Basin (A635).  For Huddersfield, come off the M62 at Junction 24 and take the A629 South.  If you are coming from the M1, come off at Junction 38 and follow the A637, A624 and A629 northwesterly for Huddersfield.
West Side
On the West side, the Narrow Canal climbs the Tame valley from Ashton-u-Lyne in the West to the Standedge Tunnel entrance at Diggle, passing through the towns of Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfield and Uppermill.  Of course it also emerges from the Tunnel at Diggle and descends the Tame valley to Ashton depending on which way you're going!
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Voted one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Waterways', Standedge Tunnel runs for 5.2km, 194m below the moors and at 196m above sea level you can boat no higher on the network! Thanks, in part, to the Society's campaigning, boaters can now navigate the Tunnel themselves with the guidance of a Canal & River Trust chaperone.
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Emerging from the Tunnel, the Narrow Canal descends to Huddersfield and the Broad Canal along the Colne Valley passing the towns of Marsden, Slaithwaite and Milnsbridge and vice versa.

A Canal of Contrasts

From Industry past to dramatic landscapes

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is 20 miles long and runs from Ashton-under-Lyne to Huddersfield connecting the Ashton Canal in the West to the Huddersfield Broad (Sir John Ramsden’s Canal) in the East.

Work building the Canal commenced in 1794 and though it was largely completed some five years later, the construction of 3.1 miles of Standedge Tunnel took a further eleven years.  Passing under the Pennines between Diggle and Marsden, the Tunnel was, and remains today, the longest, highest (above sea level) and deepest (underground) canal tunnel in Britain.  It also boasts the oldest navigable cast iron aqueduct in the country at Stalybridge, constructed by the renowned engineer, Benjamin Outram in 1801.

The Canal was officially opened for through navigation on the 4th April 1811.

The Canal operated for 140 years but most of it was officially abandoned in 1944.  Although minor, local traffic continued into the 1950s, many sections were infilled by the early 1960s and later developed.  What remained of the Canal fell into dereliction.

Now fully restored to through navigation, not only can boaters experience the challenge of this 'Everest of the Canal System', but it's free for everyone else to enjoy; a fascinating linear park for all.
As the highest navigation, there are spectacular views

Looking East to Marsden above Lock 40E

Much heritage remains

At Lock 31E looking North with Cellars Clough Mill in the distance

Why support the Huddersfield Narrow ...


... because the Canal is a wonderful resource used by all sorts of people, not only boaters, who come to enjoy its tranquility, heritage and spectacular scenery.
We believe it is something worth working for and supporting.  So, how can you help us?
Why not join the Huddersfield Canal Society or perhaps make a donation to our cause ...

If you are a taxpayer, you can increase the value of your donation by asking for your payment to be treated as Gift Aid.  Simply select the Donate with Gift Aid option.

Would you like to consider further ways of helping us financially?  
Please download our Donations Pack for more suggestions.

Thank you for helping the Huddersfield Canal Society in it's work.

Canals for All

Into the darkness ... Nathan Reynolds' remarkable Standedge Tunnel picture

Boating on the Narrow Canal:

About 20 miles with 74 Locks of which:
42 are Manual, 11 are Hydraulic and 21 are a combination of Manual and Hydraulic.
The Narrow Locks take 70' craft with a maximum width of 6'10".  The chaperoned transit of Standedge Tunnel must be booked in advance and takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week of the cruising season.  Click here to view the Customer Guidelines for Standedge Tunnel.

Boating Plan to Download
Download a pdf of this handy plan of the Huddersfield Canals - Click Download button below.
Using a pdf reader, such as Adobe, you can zoom and scroll the plan to get the information you need for your journey along our marvellous canals!

Boaters - Have your say!
Download our interactive questionnaire, give us your views on navigating the Narrow and help us guide our ideas about future investment.  You can click on the graphic opposite to download and then save the blank questionnaire.  You should then use a pdf reader, such as Adobe, to load and complete the form, before sending it back to us. Adobe Reader is free to download at: 
We appreciate your feedback

To all those planning a cruise on our fine waterway

Another successful programme of lock gate replacement works were completed early in Spring 2015.

Planned Winter Stoppage Programme 2015:
Lock 10W - Gate replacement works - 02/11/15 to 07/12/15
Lock 11W - Gate replacement works - 02/11/15 to 18/12/15
Lock 24W - Leakage repairs, resin grouting - 02/11/15 - 18/12/15
Lock 22W - Leakage repairs, resin grouting - 09/11/15 - 18/12/15
Lock 22W - Leakage repairs, resin grouting - 09/11/15 - 18/12/15
Lock 28W - Leakage repairs, resin grouting - 09/11/15 - 18/12/15
Lock 8E - Leakage repairs, resin grouting - 02/11/15 - 18/12/15
Lock 23E - Gate replacement works - 02/11/15 to 18/12/15

For further information about the Winter 2014/5 closures, it is advisable to contact the relevant waterway office, details of which can be found on www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

Marsden Shuttle at Tunnel End

Have a Trip

Boat trips on and near the Narrow::
Huddersfield Canal Society
12-seater 'Marsden Shuttle' at Marsden.
01457 871800  Trip Calendar
Tameside Canal Boat Trust
42-seater 'Still Waters' at Portland Basin.   07869 007886
East Manchester Community Boat Project
12-seater 'Community Spirit' at Portland Basin.  07503 145146  www.emcbp.org.uk 
Saddleworth Canal Cruises
50-seater 'Pennine Moonraker' at Uppermill.
Towpath & Canal at Linthwaite

Walking & Jogging

The towpath is an excellent route for everything from a gentle stroll to a more strenuous effort.  The surface varies in quality and though generally good, certain sections do become puddled and rather muddy when wet.  Our 'Towpath Guide' tells you all you need to know.
Fishing at Well-i-hole Road, Greenfield


A number of different Fishing Clubs rent and stock stretches of the Canal.  Please see the Canal & River Trust website for full details including applying online for a rod licence click here
Towpath at Slaithwaite


Cycling along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath is now allowed.  However, you should be aware that sections are rather narrow and there are a lot of low bridges and 'blind' spots.  Please consider others enjoying the tranquillity of the canal, especially walkers and fishermen.  See the Canal & River Trust website for more details, click here.
Pedestrians do have priority on towpaths. 

2014 Photographic Competition

Here are the winning photos from the Society's Annual Photographic Competition
Overall Winner
Overall Winner - The Standedge Tunnel - Nathan Reynolds, York
HNC Category Winner - Rough Holme Lock 12E, Milnsbridge - Malcolm Hinchliffe, Golcar
Other Waterways Category Winner - At the end of the rainbow, Hopas Wood - Angela Acott, Rochester
HNC Runner-Up - nb Elland at Embankment Lock 28W, Diggle Flight - Malcolm Hinchliffe, Golcar
Other Waterways Runner-Up - Proceeding up the River Thames, Gravesend - Angela Acott, Rochester
Commended - Bowling Basin, Forth & Clyde Canal - Malcolm Hinchliffe, Golcar

Events 2015


Please note:  For insurance purposes, volunteers must be members of the Canal Society. 
Society volunteers run the 12 seater 'Marsden Shuttle' Water Taxi between Marsden Station and Tunnel End Cottages most Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of October each year, depending on the availability of its skippers and crew.  
The first trip leaves from above Lock 42E, very near the Station, at 11.30am  until 3.30pm.  The trip to Tunnel End takes about 12-15 minutes.  The Society is currently reviewing the scheduling of the trips to coordinate with train arrivals/departures and the Standedge Tunnel trips.
Single Fares: Adults - £1.00  Child - 50p
Society Members - Free (Show your membership card)  Not a member?

Marsden Shuttle leaving Tunnel End 
Volunteers undergo a programme of training and, if they wish, have the opportunity to train for a Certificate of Community Boat Management and become an authorised skipper for the Shuttle.
Volunteers get involved in general canal maintenance tasks; here preparing to paint Lock 24E at Slaithwaite.  

Work parties take place on alternate Fridays throughout the year (weather permitting). Please contact organiser Trevor Ellis on 01484 534666 for further information, including dates and venues of future working parties. 
Still Waters at Portland Basin 
The Tameside Canal Boat Trust run the tug and butty 'Still Waters' at Portland Basin, Ashton-u-Lyne.  The butty is equipped with a wheelchair lift for disabled passengers. Operating most Sundays and Bank Holidays for the public, it is also available for group charter during the week.  Contact  Mark Neild on 07869 007886 for more details and bookings.

Joining the Canal Society

Being part of something special

The Huddersfield Canal Society enjoys support from all over the country, not only from restoration enthusiasts and boaters, but from those who can see the need for improvements and the wider benefits to local communities. This support has been maintained since the 1970s and with an operational canal, the Society has changed direction to a new role. Members are kept informed of what's going on via the Society's respected journal 'Pennine Link' and for anyone who subscribes, including non-members, an Email Newsletter 'Pennine Link Extra' (Please use the Contact Us form to send us your EMail address and a short message)

Our quarterly magazine, 'Pennine Link' has developed over the years; latest edition - Issue 188 Winter 2014.  Our archive goes back to June 1974 with Bulletin No1 and we have scanned all the editions up to and including a year ago and made them available as searchable pdf files.  Follow this link to see the editions and as each new edition is published, its previous year's counterpart will be added to the archive.
Why don't you join us and be 
part of something special.

As a member, you get:
* Quarterly Magazine - Pennine Link
* EMail Newsletter - Pennine Link Extra
* Free Boat trips on the Marsden Shuttle
* Opportunities for volunteering

If you would like to join the Canal Society now, click the appropriate membership category below to pay for your initial subscription through PayPal.  Rest assured, this is not an automatically recurring payment with PayPal; renewal reminders will be sent with your magazine on the anniversary of your joining.

The Huddersfield Canal Society is a registered charity (number 510201). If you are a taxpayer, you can increase the value of your subscription, by asking for your payment to be treated as Gift Aid.  Currently, every £1 we receive will then be worth £1.25 to us by reclaiming the tax you have already paid.

By choosing the Gift Aid category to pay your subscription, you are declaring that you are a UK taxpayer and asking us to treat as Gift Aid all qualifying gifts of money made now and in the future.  You confirm you have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that you donate to will reclaim on your gifts for that tax year.  You understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify.  You understand the charity will reclaim the current rate of tax, in pence (25p at 6/4/2014), on every £1 that you give now and in the future.
We will keep a record of your name, address and amounts paid so that this can be audited by HM Customs & Revenue as necessary.
Please pay for your membership here:  (You can pay for renewals as well; just put "Renewal" in the 'Instructions to Merchant 'section of the PayPal form) 
Of course, a Society Membership makes an ideal gift for Christmas or that special occasion.  When you pay, simply let us know it is a gift and include the recipients details; we can send the 'welcome pack' to you for giving or send direct with a covering message.

If you would rather pay us by cheque, use the download button to get an Application Form.
Not sure about joining?  Why not send us your postal address and we'll send you a complimentary copy of our full colour magazine to convince you!  click here  

The 74 Club

Conquering the 'Everest' of the canal system

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is hard work for boaters, so if you have navigated all 74 locks on this waterway, you deserve to treat yourself to a lasting souvenir to mark your achievement.

The Society has commissioned a brass plaque to acknowledge boaters who have 'done' the Narrow and they are available by application from the Society office. 

Transit of the Standedge Tunnel is accepted as proof of navigation.

The plaque is available at £5.00 for Huddersfield Canal Society members, £8.00 for non-members and £4.00 for non-members who join the Society at the time of applying. Postage & packing is £1.00 per plaque.

Use the Download button to get an Application Form.  It has space for you to comment on your boating experience; all comments are passed to the Manchester & Pennine Waterways Partnership to help maintain the Narrow as a 'must do' waterway!


For our merchandise shown in the tabbed section below, you can simply send a cheque payable to: 'Huddersfield Canal Society' with a covering note to the office at Transhipment Warehouse, Wool Road, Dobcross, Oldham, OL3 5QR

or why not buy securely with PayPal ... 

Please note: By placing an order your email address will automatically be entered onto our email database.  If you do not wish to be added to this list, please put a note on the 'Instructions to Merchant' section on the Paypal Link.

Your ideal companion for exploring the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Full colour, A5-sized pictorial guide.  
90 pages with over 400 colour photographs and 36 detailed maps at 1:4000 scale.
ISBN 978-0-9514270-1-9

£4.99 plus p&p

How it was done!

The Impossible Dream tells the story of the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, from work by enthusiasts in the early 1970s, through to the official re-opening by HRH the Prince of Wales, in September 2001.

£10.99 plus p&p 

An historical perspective

Keith Gibson & David Finnis' account of 200 years in the life of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal (publ. 2010).

£12.99 plus p&p 

Great News!  We have acquired a limited stock of this book ... first come, etc.

Europe and Rest of the World delivery, please Contact Us

South Pennine Ring

GEO Projects canal users map of the Huddersfield and Rochdale and Canals and connecting waterways.  Second edition.

£4.95 plus p&p

Solid Brass Plaque celebrating the Bicentenary of the official opening of Standedge Tunnel 

Especially commissioned to commemorate the bicentenary of the official opening of Standedge Tunnel, and hence the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to through navigation, on the 4th April 1811

£10.00 with p&p 

History & Restoration

Keith Gibson's account of the history and restoration of the Rochdale Canal (publ 2004)

£16.99 plus £1.50 p&p 

Reflections of the Past ...
Audio Trail

The character of Betty Buckley, Tunnel Chain Keeper at Marsden, appointed
August 1856, salary 5/- (25p) 
a week, (worth about £14 at today's prices)
If you saw and enjoyed our bi-centenary drama  production “Reflections of the Past” in September 2011 then you have another chance to do so; if you did not see it then, you can now experience what you missed. Oldham Theatre Workshop, in collaboration with the Society, have produced an audio version of the production which can be accessed by clicking here.
We have been able to develop this project as a result of grants we have secured from three sources. These are The Heritage Lottery Fund, Pennine Prospects and Oldham Council’s Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership. Together, this financial support, amounting to £6,000, has covered the full cost of the work and we are enormously grateful to the funders for their commitment. 

Contact us

If you're interested in joining the Society, making a difference as a volunteer or have any questions, please feel free to use the panels opposite to send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Members' Area

HCS 220 Club

For only £2 a month, our new 220 Club gives you four chances of winning up to £350 and four more chances of winning up to £175!

220 Club gives the Society useful additional income allowing it to continue its work and have an influence on your canals.

220 Club contributes to the varied work of the Society and helps it have a healthy future.

220 Club is run by Huddersfield Canal Society for its members and your support is needed.

Join today by completing the application form downloadable here

**Please note only Canal Society members are eligible to subscribe to HCS 220 Club.  Not a member? Join Now

Society Accounts

A copy of the 2014 Accounts and Financial Statement can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.