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Canal Archive: Route Maps of the Canals

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Preston Brook Worsley Worsley Leigh Eccles Trafford Park Manchester Docks Trafford Park Sale Altrincham Irlam Lymm Warrington Runcorn Widnes Ellesmere Port Eastham Docks

Route maps of the Canals

The plan below shows the routes of the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canals:

Map of the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canal routes.

Click on the names in the plan (or use the links below) to see OS maps (from 2003) of the routes the canals took.

The Bridgewater Canal
Starting in Worsley, one branch of the Canal travels into Manchester to Castlefield, crossing the Ship Canal at Barton.

A second branch emerges at Waters Meeting, passing Trafford Park and on through Sale and Lymm to Runcorn. On route to Runcorn, the Canal links with the Trent and Mersey Canal at Preston Brook.

The final section of the Canal travels from Worsley to Leigh, where it links up with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Manchester Ship Canal
Starting at Eastham Locks on the Mersey Estuary, the Canal passes through Ellesmere Port and Runcorn.

It then heads straight across country south of Widnes and Warrington, before turning north towards Irlam and Barton.

The Canal then heads towards Manchester, skirting around Trafford Park Industrial Estate before reaching Manchester Docks, after which it reverts back into the River Irwell.

The Manchester Ship Canal from 1954

Manchester Ship Canal from 1954

This map shows the entire route of the Manchester Ship Canal as it was in 1954. Inset into the map are a small plan of Manchester docks, a plan of the industrial areas the port served and cross sections of the docks and cranes.