Posted 15th 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 the Marple Grand Aqueduct
When asked about the Marple Grand Aqueduct, social historian and travel writer George Borrow opined: "Few things are so beautiful in their origin as this canal."
The highest canal aqueduct in Britain at 309 feet long and 100 feet high, the 'Grand Aqueduct’s' first stone was laid in May 1794.
The aqueduct carries the lowest part of the Peak Forest Canal across the River Mersey which was later renamed the River Goyt. It has an unusual two-tone appearance; the lower pillars are made of red sandstone that come from the nearby Hyde Bank quarry, while the top half is white, rough stone from the quarry at Chapel Milton. Combined, they add up to over 8,000 cubic yards of masonry.
While the aqueduct was accepted by most as a stunning addition to the British landscape, over the next several decades after it had been built, little was done to maintain and repair it, resulting in part of it collapsing from frost damage in 1961. A campaign launched to repair it as part of the canal again, and proved to be successful - the new-and-improved Marple Aqueduct re-opened on May 13th, 1974, as part of the 'Cheshire Ring'.
Once you've fully exhausted the Aqueduct, the stunning Roman lakes and Memorial Park will be just a short walk away, offering the ideal opportunity to relax and unwind.
Did you know
- The Marple Grand Aqueduct is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the oldest form of heritage protection in the UK. It's also Grade I.
- For years, the best views were obscured by unchecked tree growth. However, they have been cut back recently to reveal the area's beauty.
- The aqueduct was authorised by a full Act of Parliament and Royal Assent in March 1794.
- If you visit in June, check out the annual Marple Carnival nearby, with street parades, floats and more.