Canals of North East England

The canals of the North East England criss-cross the Pennines, offering a variety of stunning landscapes to explore by canal boat.


The mighty Leeds & Liverpool Canal runs 127 miles from Liverpool to Leeds, travelling through vast areas of open space at the canal’s summit, as well as the peaceful wooded Aire Valley.  Towns and villages along the way include: Burnley, where the mile-long Burnley Embankment carries the canal high above the town; Skipton, home to the splendid medieval Skipton Castle; and Bingley, site of the famous Five Rise Locks.

The Rochdale Canal, in the middle of the North East of England’s canals, runs 31 miles from Sowerby Bridge through beautiful scenery and historic stone-built towns, right into the vibrant heart of Manchester.  With 91 locks along its length, it climbs steeply and offers stunning views.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal, to the south, takes narrowboat holiday-makers through wooded countryside, rugged moorlands, past reminders of the textile industry, from weavers’ cottages to giant mills.  It scales the Pennines, delivering the highest stretch of canal in Britain at its summit, and the longest, deepest and highest Tunnel – the incredible three-and-a-quarter mile long Standedge Tunnel.

These three canals are linked on the Yorkshire side by river navigations: the historic 21½-mile long Calder & Hebble Navigation offers a peaceful journey through trees, small towns and villages; and the 34-mile long Aire & Calder, which runs from Leeds to the tidal River Ouse at Goole, is a modern waterway which mixes leisure boats with environmentally friendly bulk transport.

Drifters offers canal boat hire bases at Silsden and Barnoldswick on the Leeds & Liverpool, and at Sowerby Bridge, at the junction of the Rochdale Canal and Calder & Hebble Navigation.

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