Oldham News | Main News | Oldham attraction among ten new ‘wonders of modern waterways’ to mark 10th anniversary

Date published: July 12, 2022

Standedge Tunnel, Britain’s longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel near Oldham, and Anderton Boat Lift, the world’s first boat lift, in Northwich, feature in a new top 10 wonder of Modern Waterways, announced by the Canal and River Trust today (Tuesday) to mark its tenth anniversary.

They join the soaring Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales, the Bingley Five Rise Locks in Yorkshire and six other remarkable sites chosen by British yachtsmen and canal supporters to celebrate the rebirth of the network of the country’s 200-year-old canals and a decade of attention. by the charitable sector.

Some of these engineering masterpieces have been recognized as spectacular examples of the country’s industrial heritage for over 70 years.

These are joined by new additions, such as Little Venice in London and the longest staircase of locks in Britain at Foxton in Leicestershire, reflecting both the growing importance of waterways as vibrant green spaces in cities across the country and their long-standing value in providing popular and accessible beauty spots across the country.

The Standedge Tunnel carries the narrow Huddersfield Canal under the Pennines from Diggle to Marsden in West Yorkshire.

The poll was conducted by the charity Canal and River Trust which took over the country’s waterways a decade ago in the biggest ever transfer of public wealth to the charitable sector.

Richard Parry, Managing Director of Canal and River Trust, said: “Having served as the arteries that fueled the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago, today the network of canals across England and Wales is busier than ever with boats sailing through this unique living heritage.

“The list of must-see places that the public has chosen shows the breadth of what waterways have to offer, from astonishing feats of engineering to the growing role of canals as beautiful places to spend time and enjoy the benefits for health and well-being through water.

“Locks are high on the list, and the sheer pleasure of gongoozling – watching boats go by – is an antidote to the hectic pace of modern life.

“And that’s only scratching the surface: with waterways providing free and accessible blue and green spaces on the doorstep of millions, everyone can find their own special place.

“The establishment of the Canal and River Trust ten years ago was a great achievement, placing the waterways in trust for the nation and continuing the rebirth of this wonderful living heritage which is the finest of its kind in the world.

“The latest chapter in the story has only just begun and brings its own challenges, with 250-year-old canals vulnerable to changing weather conditions.

“We call on the public and government to continue to support the waterways so that we can continue to protect and preserve this incredible network and avoid the decline we have seen in the last century.

“We hope people will come and see these magnificent sites and join us in celebrating hundreds of years of canals playing a vital role in British society and the ways they can continue to serve society in the future.”

Canals are an integral part of the nation’s landscape with the quintessentially British sight of a narrowboat, lock or humpback bridge familiar to anyone in town or country.

Once the arteries of the Industrial Revolution, occupied by ships carrying goods such as coal, steel, china and food, they now play an equally important role in society as green corridors that bring nature in cities, improve the well-being of communities and tackle health inequalities, as well as supporting employment and the local economy.

Today, as well as being visited by around 10 million people every fortnight, the Canal and River Trust’s waterways are used by around 35,000 boats for pleasure, work and home, boaters cruising on the 200 year old network in the same way as their predecessors.

The Canal and River Trust has been committed to maintaining the waterways in its care since its inception in 2012.

The past decade since the launch of the Canal and River Trust has seen a generational shift in the number of people volunteering on the canals, donating money and lending their support, with over a million people supporting the work of the charity.

This summer, volunteers will donate their five millionth hour to the Canal and River Trust.

For more details on how to volunteer, donate or take advantage of boat trips, click here

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Keith P. Plain