Tram to Eccles, and straight down to Barton Upon Irwell, and the Barton Acqueducts, the original acqueduct was built in 1961 and carried the Bridgewater Canal over the River Irwell, but in 1893 the size of ships coming up the new Ship canal, meant it was replaced with a swing acqueduct. It is the only structure of its type in the world, and another tribute to the vision of Victorian Engineers.
At no point along the canal can you walk alongside for any great distance, so it was again a matter of skipping in and out of range of the water, and passing the Barton Swing bridge, and approaching the M62 and the new Lowry Bridge which was still being built.
The path near the canal here shows evidence of once being heavily industrialised, but is now returning to nature.Nature also is reclaiming the land, as can be seen by the almost rural appearance of Salteye Brook which empies into the Irwell a little further along
A little further along I came to Hulmes Ferry.
It was established in 1885 as the building of the Ship Canal had forced the demolition of a bridge at this point, so an Act of Parliament was passed requiring the Canal’s owners to provide a free ferry, it still operates today, albeit to a much reduced timetable -the summer timetable is Friday to Monday 12:00 noon to 17:30.
The canal was quite idyllic here, and I took a few pictures of mushrooms and overhanging trees
At this point I met up with my Mersey walk, and the confluence of the Mersey and Irwell at Cadishead
Last time I had followed the path after Warburton Bridge to find it was a dead end, and had to work my way back, so this time I intended to cross the canal at Warburton, and try and get further down on the other side.
The first problem was that it was difficult even to climb up to the road to the bridge, there being no path.
However, it was worth it and there was a great view of the canal from the bridge itself
The bridge is a Toll bridge, and costs 12p per crossing, or 25p for a day ticket:
Though with works in the offing to strengthen it , it is feared that costs will rise, nevertheless, it is the only Toll bridge in Greater Manchester, and one of the few pre motorway toll bridges in operation.
Warburton itself is a pretty little village, and I skirted it as I wanted to see if I could walk down along the canal, before being diverted back.
It started well with a clear path that did infact go alongside the canal, and I even got to see the Mersey leaving the canal to wind its way through Warrington before being met by the canal again near Birkenhead. Infact I could even see the bridge I was not able to cross when I walked down the other side.
However, exactly opposite this point is the confluence of the Bollin and Canal, and there was no bridge to cross, forcing me to walk back along the Bollin to Warburton itself where I caught a bus back to Altrincham
Not a bad days walk, 13 miles covered.
Copyright 2019 Allan Russell