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Marple Aqueduct On Peak Forest Canal - Marple, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 24.426 W 002° 04.085
30U E 561950 N 5917963
Quick Description: This 3 arch aqueduct carries the Peak Forest Canal over the River Goyt, 100 feet (27.4 metres) below.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/24/2019 9:49:53 AM
Waymark Code: WM10EK5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Peak Forest Canal
It is a narrow canal constructed between 1794 and 1805 and is fourteen miles long. It connects Buxworth with Dukinfield where it joins the Ashton Canal. The main purpose of the canal was to transport limestone from quarries above Buxworth. There are sixteen locks near the town of Marple that raise the canal a height of 210 feet in a distance of 1 mile.

The advent of the railways and later modern roads led to the decline of the canal and it fell into disuse between 1920 and 1960. An upsurge in leisure boat use led to the canal being restored and reopened in 1974.

The Aqueduct
The River Goyt formed a natural barrier between the lower level of the canal and the nearby flight of 16 locks that raise the canal 210 feet to the upper level of the canal.

The solution was to build this elegant aqueduct to carry boats 100 feet above the level of the river.

The aqueduct became an English Heritage Grade I listed building on 29th March 1966 and the listing tells us that it is a "Canal aqueduct over River Goyt. Between 1794 and 1801. Benjamin Outram and Thomas Brown engineers. Ashlar, dressed and rock-faced stone. 3 wide spans nearly 30m. high. Semi- circular arches rise from large red sandstone semi-circular- ended pylons. They are separated by square battered antae with moulded bases and capitals which form a heavy band below the coped parapet walls which sweep out at each end to be terminated in square piers. Pierced circular opening in each spandrel with ashlar dressings. Tension bars and plates are a later remedial measure. The tow path side (south) has a taller parapet with rounded copings, passing places being formed in the depth of the antae. An outstanding piece of engineering and design on a monumental scale." link

Severe damage was caused during the hard winters of 1961/2 and 1962/3 when ice formed in the trough, expanding and causing the parapet wall to collapse. There were proposals to demolish the aqueduct, but there was a major campaign by local canal enthusiasts and itw as eventually, restored and strengthened. It was the success of this renovation that led to the whole of the canal to be renovated and re-opened in 1974.

The towpath is open along the length of the canal giving easy access to the aqueduct. At the eastern end of the aqueduct here is a footpath down to the river level and under the aqueduct where good views can be obtained.

100 years after the canal was constructed The Hope Valley trans-Pennine railway line linking Sheffield with Manchester was built. It also had the challenge of crossing the Goyt Valley and there is a large viaduct very close to this aqueduct. The footpath under the aqueduct also passes under this viaduct.

There is a plaque on the parapet of the aqueduct with the following text.

Opened 1800

Architect & Engineer:
Benjamin Outram

Carries the Peak Forest Canal
100 feet above the River Goyt in a brick-built
channel lined with puddled clay.

In 2016 the Transport Trust also placed one of their Red Plaques at the eastern end of the aqueduct. The Transport Trust is Britain’s only charity dedicated to the preservation of all modes of transport and its infrastructure. Their Red Wheel heritage plaque scheme promotes transport heritage right across the country, the transport equivalent of a blue plaque. Each plaque describes the site and directs the reader to their website. link



This elegant aqueduct, designed by
Benjamin Outram, and built 1794-1800,
is the tallest masonry arch
aqueduct in the UK

For further information visit

Height of bridge: 100 ft

What type of traffic does this bridge support?: Boats on the canal, and pedestrians and cyclists on the towpath

What kind of gap does this bridge cross?:
The River Goyt

Date constructed: 1801

Is the bridge still in service for its original purpose?: Yes

Name of road or trail the bridge services: Peak Forest Canal

Marple, Greater Manchester

Length of bridge: Not listed

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