Lock 18 On The Ashton Canal – Fairfield, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 28.662 W 002° 09.026
30U E 556383 N 5925747
Quick Description: This is the eighteenth and final lock on the Ashton Canal as it ascends out of Manchester towards Ashton Under Lyne.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/6/2013 4:05:42 PM
Waymark Code: WMH8EJ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 2

Long Description:

The Ashton Canal
The Ashton Canal runs between Manchester and Ashton under Lyne, UK. It ascends for 6.7 miles and has 18 locks. It was originally built in 1796 to transport coal to the large industrial city of Manchester. As time went on a number of other short canals were built as branches to feed other goods from surrounding towns into the network. In 1800 the canal was extended slightly within Manchester to join the Rochdale Canal which greatly extended the network of the canals connected to Manchester. At its peak it was a successful canal, but competition from railways and then roads caused its closure in 1958.

During the 1960s and 1970s canals started to become popular with leisure boaters. After a long campaign this canal was restored and reopened in 1974. Most of the other small canal links however remain closed, but with junctions at each end it still forms part of a large network of canals

This canal is a so-called narrow canal and the locks can take boats that have maximum dimensions of 72 feet long and 7 feet wide.

Lock 18
This lock is the eighteenth and last one on the canal as it ascends out of Manchester. It is also known as the Fairfield Top Lock 18.

This lock is unusual in that there are two lock chambers side by side that originally could be used independently of each other. The second chamber was added in the 1820s because there was a lot of congestion at this lock nearest to Ashton-Under-Lyne. Lock one at Manchester is a similar double lock where there was also a lot of congestion.

Since the canal reopened only one of the lock chambers is used. The other has had the bottom gates removed and the top gate is locked shut.

Usually on narrow canals the top gate is a single gate whilst the bottom end has a double set of gates. This is unlike locks on broad canals where the gates at both ends of the locks are double ones. However in this case both the top and bottom gates are a double set.

The lock chamber at the bottom gates has a double set of stone steps flanking the lock chamber that descend down to the towpath. There is a small metal foot bridge next to the double gates to allow boaters to access both sides of the canal to operate the gates.

Just past this lock the canal split into two, one half continuing as the Ashton canal to Ashton Under Lyne and the other formed the Hollinwood branch of the Ashton canal. Apart from a small marina where boats can be moored this canal has remained closed.

In front of the double gates on this lock is a steep stone arch bridge known as the Camel’s Hump, that was used to take horses to the other canal bank when they were towing boats that switched from the main canal to the Hollinwood branch or vice versa.
Waterway Name: The Ashton Canal

Connected Points:
The canal connects with the Rochdale Canal at Manchester and the Hudderfield Narrow Canal at Ashton-Under-Lyne. There is also a junction with the Peak Forest Canal at Portland Basin in Ashton-Under-Lyne.


Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1796

Elevation Difference (meters): 3.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

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