Posted 16th Mar 2018
In the next of our History of the Waterways features, courtesy of Insure4Boats and the Canal and River Trust, we find out about Harding's Wood Canal
There are only two canal flyover junctions in Britain, and Harding's Wood Canal is one of them.
Joining the Macclesfield Canal with the Trend and Mersey Canal, it was dubbed 'The Grand Trunk' by engineer James Brindley.
Construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal and the junction itself were decreed by an Act of Parliament in 1766. However, it took a further 10 years to be fully completed, finally opening in 1777.
The 'flyover' junction is so called because of where the lines meet, with the southern Hall Green branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal leaving the mainline and then crosses back over itself, creating the flyover pattern.
One 90-degree turn followed by another in the opposite direction, with the branch then continuing north to join up with the Macclesfield Canal - its rarity makes it a must-see.
Did you know…
- The Trent and Mersey Canal were well built before the Macclesfield Canal - when joining the two years later, Trent and Mersey demanded the water level of the Macclesfield Canal be kept one foot higher.
- Most modern guides ignore the Hall Green branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal, simply treating it as part of Merseyside Canal.
- The Merseyside Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal actually run parallel for almost half a mile before crossing over.
- One mile from Harding's Wood Canal Junction, canal boat fans can visit the village of Newchapel, where the canal's engineer (and so-called 'father of the English canal system), James Brindley is buried.