10-day and two week breaks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Canal boat holidays on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

On a longer boating holiday from Silsden you can cruise along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Burnley or Wigan

10-day route from Silsden

Burnley and back (63 miles, 44 locks, 32 hours)

Follow the week-long route to Foulridge Tunnel. Passage through the tunnel works on a traffic light system which allows each boat 20 minutes to get to the other end. A mile after the Foulridge Tunnel, you’ll encounter Barrowford Top Lock – a flight of seven – and begin your descent from the summit level, with views of old stone farms and distant mountains to enjoy. Soon after, Barrowford offers shops, fish & chips, restaurants and pubs, including The White Bear Inn.  At the Pendle Heritage Centre you’ll find an exhibition on the famous Pendle Witches.  There’s also a tea room overlooking the beautifully restored 18th century walled garden, the Pendle Art Gallery, and access to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Pendle Hill. Continuing along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, you’ll enter the outskirts of the large industrial town of Burnley. The waterway was once the main artery for Burnley and its industries and the area around Bridge 130, known as the Weaver’s Triangle, is one of the best preserved 19th century industrial districts in the country.  The three-quarters of a mile long Burnley Embankment, considered to be one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’, carries the canal 60 feet high across part of the town, offering boaters panoramic views. There are plenty of pubs in Burnley, including The Inn on the Wharf in a weaver’s warehouse, several art centres and the Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, now Britain’s only working 19th century weaving mill. Turn at Burnley Wharf.

Two-week routes from Silsden

Wigan and back (135 miles, 72 locks, 60 hours)

Follow the route to Burnley.  After passing through Gannow Tunnel (559 yards long), the canal travels on through the Calder Valley and alongside the M65 motorway for a time. Hapton is the next village after Burnley, with its popular Hapton Inn.  Then you’ll go through three swing bridges as the canal travels through neat green fields bordered by drystone walls, before reaching Clayton-le-Moors (a suburb of Accrington) three miles later. The canal now twists and turns on through Church, with the parish church of St James right on the banks of the canal, marking the central point of the canal. Just over a mile later, after more dramatic bends, the canal passes over the M65 using a concrete aqueduct, before arriving at Rishton, a small town that grew up around the cotton mills in the 19th century. There’s a choice of places to eat here, including Indian restaurants, fish & chips, The Rishton Arms and The Walmsley Arms.

Two miles on and the canal enters the outskirts of Blackburn, passing canopied wharves at Eanam, now converted for businesses and a pub. There’s plenty to do in Blackburn, including a visit to the cathedral with its striking 13ft sculpture of ‘Christ the Worker’ by John Hayward. The Museum & Art Gallery has a series of rooms demonstrating the development of the textile industry using full size working models. And there’s a choice of curry houses, including Thira Restaurant. It takes several hours to pass through Blackburn, but there are distant views of Darwen Hill and Witton Country Park to enjoy along the way. And everywhere there are mills, mainly redundant but a reminder of the town’s cotton history. A flight of six locks (the Blackburn locks) carry the canal nearly 55ft up on the western edge of town to 400ft above sea level with excellent views. The suburb of Cherry Tree is next, with a good range of shops and take-aways.

As the canal leaves Blackburn, it crosses a high embankment and then curls round a steep and thickly wooded valley. A mile later, the canal passes through the village of Riley Green with its excellent Royal Oak pub providing award-winning cask ales and a large menu of British pub food. Hoghton Tower is close by, a 16th century fortified hilltop mansion, noted for its dungeons, doll’s houses, picturesque gardens and magnificent banqueting hall. Just over a mile and a half later, now in a secluded wooded valley, the canal passes through Withnell Fold, a small estate village built to house workers at the canalside paper mills which once functioned there. On the opposite side of the canal is a nature reserve which has developed in the old filter beds and now provides habitats for waterlilies, dragonflies, newts and frogs. Just over a mile of beautiful scenery later, you’ll reach the top of the Johnson’s Hill flight of seven locks.  The Top Lock pub is here and a boatyard with boaters’ facilities.

Soon after the canal travels under the M61 motorway and along the edge of Chorley, passing some large textile mills. The Prince of Wales pub is a short walk from Bridge 75A and The Lock & Quay. It’s also well worth visiting a bakery to try a Chorley cake, similar to the Eccles cake but sweeter and fruitier. Close to three wooded miles further, the canal reaches Adlington with a good range of shops, pubs, including The (Bottom) Spinners Arms, and a popular café at the White Bear Marina, Rivington. Here you can turn and head back to Silsden.

Sowerby Bridge & back (123 miles, 132 locks, 75 hours)

Cruise along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Leeds and transfer onto the Aire & Calder Navigation to continue on to Sowerby Bridge in Calderdale, passing through Wakefield and Brighouse along the way.

Follow the week long route to Leeds. Then continue heading east along the Aire & Calder Navigation to Castleford Junction. There are lots of pubs in Castleford, including The Boat Inn, The Anchor and The Junction. Continue on, passing the Canal & River Trust’s Stanley Ferry Workshops where they make locks gates.  The Stanley Ferry pub is canalside here. At Fall Ing Junction you’ll transfer onto the Calder & Hebble Navigation. You’ll go through Wakefield with its canalside Ruddy Duck and Navigation Inn and the waterside Hepworth Wakefield Gallery. The journey will take you on through Horbury, Shepley Bridge (The Ship Inn), Mirfield (The Navigation Tavern), Cooper Bridge, Brighouse (Jeremy’s at The Boat House and The Richard Oastler on Bethel Street), Elland (The Barge & Barrell), and Salterhebble (The Watermill).  At Sowerby Bridge you can turn and then moor up to visit The Moorings pub and explore this historic market town in Calderdale.

Click here to book a canal boat holiday on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Silsden, or call us on 0117 463 3419.

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