We approached the Ashton Basin, (a few hundred yards before the official start of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal), via the Marple flight. The locks are in a superb, virtually rural setting. The sixteen locks lead to the Lower Peak Forest Canal. It's then just eight miles to the Ashton-under-Lyne junction with the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The Marple locks are part of the Cheshire Ring. We found the lock gear difficult, even though the locks are in regular use. The lift bridge (picture 2) is close to the Ashton junction and is reminiscent of those found on the Llangollen Canal. The Portland Basin Museum - picture 4, is at the junction of the Peak Forest, Ashton and Huddersfield Narrow Canals.
Click on any of the photographs for an enlarged view
We found safe, overnight moorings in the Basin for our short, 23 feet, boat. Other moorings were occupied by wooden boats and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal Society's boats. This is the last water point before Diggle (information correct August 2001). The water point is not obvious, so just ask one of the resident boaters. This section of canal is, strictly speaking the Ashton Canal.
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was opened to full navigation in May 2001. It's twenty miles long and has 74 locks, so don't expect a leisurly cruise! The Huddersfield Narrow Canal starts a half mile north of the bridge, picture 4 above. It's then less than 2 miles to Stalybridge. Stalybridge town centre has seen monumental change since the canal was restored, and is fast becoming known as Little Venice.