Chat Moss, the Bridgewater Canal and the Industrial Revolution

Chat Moss has an almost mythical character yet is very much a living landscape. Its mythical roots come from its origins 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age. Daniel Defoe’s description of the area as frightful in 1724 during his tour of Britain contributed to this sense of a land beyond civilisation. He could not imagine what nature meant by the production of such a waste land.

The Manchester to Liverpool railway line crossed Chat Moss in the early 19th century, commencing the Railway Mania. The northern border of the Moss is marked by the Bridgewater Canal which ushered in the age of Canal Mania years before the Railways took over.

If you open John Aikin’s Description of the country for Thirty to Forty Miles around Manchester (1795) you very quickly encounter a map of the northwest of England and a striking feature of that map is the number of canals on that map. The engineering wonders that were created with the canals generated fantastic images that Aikin evokes as,

the extraordinary sight, never before beheld in this country, of one vessel, sailing over the top of another; and those who had at first ridiculed the attempt, as equivalent to building a castle in the air, were obliged to join in admiration of the wonderful abilities of the engineer (p.114).

This was at Barton upon Irwell where James Brindley built the first aqueduct for the Bridgewater Canal across the River Irwell, on the eastern edge of Chat Moss. It enabled Brindley to plot a better route to Runcorn and the Mersey avoiding the original idea of taking the canal across Chat Moss.

Northwest England has a significant landscape heritage of peat bogs and Chat Moss is a key recovering element of that landscape. Little Woolden Moss is part of Chat Moss; it is now owned and is being restored by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. If you look north across Little Woolden Moss on a clear day you can see an apparently uninterrupted greenscape leading up Winter Hill part of the West Pennines. Chat Moss is a lowland peat moss and much of the West Pennines is upland peat moss.

These mosslands began to form about 10,000 years ago during the last ice age when peat began to be laid down on marine, estuarine or fluvial deposits adjacent to estuaries, on river floodplains, or on the site of shallow glacial lakes. These wet, waterlogged areas were originally colonised by reeds and rushes. When this plant material died it could not be fully broken down and this led to the formation of fen peat. Then bog mosses (Sphagnum mosses) began to colonise and changed the underlying peat from fen to bog peat. As the peat accumulated, the surface of the bog was elevated above the surrounding land, forming a dome, hence often these are known as raised bogs.

Chat Moss has a rich industrial heritage also, it was used historically as a waste disposal site for Manchester. The waste was a mixture of organic and mineral wastes, ranging from manures to steelworks waste. Chat Moss was purchased by the Manchester Corporation in 1895 for use as a waste disposal site to alleviate growing waste generation by the city population, but also to reclaim the peat for agricultural purposes. During drainage, the waste from Manchester was incorporated into the moss to reduce loss of soil volume as the peat dried out. The earliest waste used was nightsoil, which was mainly ashes mixed with the contents of privies.

Since the mid-19th century, the area of lowland raised bog in the UK has fallen by 94% from 95,000 ha to 6,000 ha. Chat Moss has in that period been industrially mined for peat for fuel and as an agricultural and garden product. This extraction of moss only ended on Little Woolden Moss in 2017 but fortunately that area is now being actively restored as a peat moss by the wildlife trust.

If you are interested in learning more about Chat Moss then contact Bridgewater Green Badge Guide – David Barnes Tel: 07961 535163   email:davidbarnes.david@gmail.com

Alexa Tours

Heritage Walks by Alexa Tours

As part of the Sale Festival, Green Badge Guide Alexa Fairclough is leading some heritage walks.

Discover Sale, 4th June 2pm and Discover Ashton-upon-Mersey, 5th June are on sale now.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/heritage-walks-discover-sale-tickets-310998162877

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/heritage-walks-discover-ashton-upon-mersey-tickets-158035200539

Check out the Sale Festival Website for other events. Don’t forget to visit the wonderful canal!

For more tours by Alexa check out her eventbrite page

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/alexatours-21749322952

http://www.salefestival.org.uk/whats-on/

Worsley

Book a tour – Worsley Wonder – 2022

3rd Saturday of every month 11am

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/worsley-wonder-walking-tour-tickets-222952596217

Worsley
Worsley

Join our regular tours of Worsley by fully qualified Green Badge guides for the Bridgewater Canal in Salford

Tours: 3rd Saturday of every month

11am Meet outside the Delph Bar & Restaurant

Booking recommended due to group size limitations

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/worsley-wonder-walking-tour-tickets-222952596217

Bridgewater Canal Guided Tours

Book a tour – A Right Royal Ramble – 2022

A new tour for 2022 – Ramble your way through the royal history in and around The Bridgewater Canal and Worsley

Join Green Badge Guide Royston Futter and, in your imagination, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, The Duke of Wellington and various other Royals and Luminaries who visited Worsley New Hall and the Bridgewater Canal in their heyday.

The circular guided tour, taking in the magnificent gates shown at the 1851 Great Exhibition, St Marks Churchyard, Worsley Delph and The Bridgewater Canal starts and ends in the carpark of RHS Bridgewater so you can visit the garden and have refreshments before or after the walk.

Start 2pm – tour will last approx 2 ½ hrs (Distance around 4.5miles – generally flat but moderate uphill walk back towards the gardens.)

Tour Dates:

Sunday 22nd May, Sunday 10th July and Sunday 4th September 2022

Adults £13 plus booking fee

For children under 12 use promo code CHILD – price £6 plus fee.

https://rightroyalramble.eventbrite.co.uk

Booking essential

Book a tour – Coal, Canal and Cake – 2022

2nd Saturday of each month – 2pm 14:00 – 16:30 approx.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/154147185381

Join us for a tour exploring the history of the Bridgewater Canal in Salford and the hidden clues of its link to the coal deep in seams underground. 

Worsley Village was once the hub of a thriving industry built upon the coal belonging to the Duke of Bridgewater in the 18th Century.  

His life’s work centred around how to make the transport of coal from his land to the growing city of Manchester possible and most importantly profitable!

We follow the path of history and heritage from the Duke and his canal to his descendant the Earl of Ellesmere and his own personal project, St Mark’s Church. A grade 1 listed building designed by the eminent architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. 

We finish the walk with included cake and refreshments to digest the incredible changes to industrial Britain, which can in part be credited to the ingenuity of the Duke, his workers and those that followed in his footsteps. 

Please note visits to St Mark’s Church may be limited on certain dates according to the church events schedule.

Booking Essential – please message us with any dietary requirements

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/154147185381

Alexandra Fairclough

Alexandra Fairclough

I am Alexandra (Alexatours) and I’m a recently qualified Green Badge Guide. As a Lancashire lass with a passion for local history, I can provide a meet & greet service as well as public and bespoke tours and assistance & information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage of this fascinating area- ‘the cradle of the Industrial Revolution’.

In addition to tours, I do talks and lectures at educational establishments, religious and historical sites, museums and at venues of other significant interest and attractions. If you are looking for a fun-fact educational tour or walk, let me share my passion for local history, the arts and our industrial past.

In addition to my listed public tours, I can provide private / school walks as well as talks for U3A groups, local history groups and family parties.

I am a member of Manchester Guided Tours as well as Bridgewater Canal Guided Tours. (I also offer tours of Cheshire by arrangement)

Alexatours.eventbrite.com
Tel 07956 226699
FB @bricksandwatertours
Twitter @Bricks_andwater

Barton Trafford and Castlefield Talk (Zoom) 2021

Thursday 13th May 7:00 pm – 8:00pm BST

From the Romans to the present day, we travel through time to see the wonders of industry, transport, technology, art, architecture + leisure

Grab yourself a coffee or tipple and sit comfortably in your favourite armchair. I will then step back in time to show you how our the rural hamlet of Barton evolved and how a Cathedral in miniature came to be built. We will be looking at two major transport routes…the Dukes Cut and the Big Ditch.  I will also tell you a bit about Trafford Park a medieval deer park than transformed into  the first industrial park in the world.  We will visit pleasure Gardens and art exhibitions enroute to Castlefield where I can show you a Roman Fort and some amazing Victorian Infrastructure.   
Using maps and images, we will discover people and communities that created these areas and the main players and their achievements.

Cost £5 plus booking fee (early bird offer) or £8

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/zoom-in-talks-barton-trafford-and-castlefield-tickets-147181173853

Historic Halls of Worsley Talk (Zoom) 2021

Sunday May 16 2021

4:00 PM – 5:15 PM BST

Discover the architecture and history of Worsley’s grand houses and halls of the past, present and exciting future inc a peek at the new RHS

Alexandra, an architectural historian, a conservation & design officer and a qualified guide, will explore the history and buildings of this remarkable village.

Together, using maps and images, and maybe a little music, we will discover the amazing people, the communities and their buildings that created Worsley; a village that changed the direction of the world in the C18th.

Starting at Worsley Old Hall, we’ll travel 500 years to the present day to explore the stately halls and other remarkable buildings in a fun factual way as well as take a little glimpse into the new development of the RHS Bridgewater Garden, on the former Worsley New Hall site, that opens 18th May 2021. Buy your tickets now!!!

Hopefully, afterwards you will look at the place and buildings in a different light. 

I look forward to meeting you all online.

Cost £5 plus booking fee (early bird fee) or £8

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/zoom-in-talkhistoric-halls-of-worsley-tickets-151946978503

Zoom-in Talk:Discover Salford: Chapel St – University 2021

Date: Wednesday 24th March 19:00 GMT

With Alexandra Fairclough, Green Badge Guide for the Bridgewater Canal

An entertaining and factual tour of the buildings people and places that make this globally important but often overlooked interesting city.

Grab yourself a coffee or tipple and sit comfortably in your favourite armchair. I will then step back in time to show you how our city evolved. Firstly it was a county which included the hamlet of Manchester, then it became the centre of the world.

Unfortunately it was then overtaken in prominence by the powerhouse we know as Manchester. Using maps and images, we will discover people and communities that created Salford and their achievements.

Starting at Greengage Square and travelling up the A6 we will look at Chapel Street and The Crescent and its environment. We’ll also take a peek at a few other important Salford landmarks too, including a glimpse of Worsley. 

Hopefully, afterwards you will look at the streets and buildings in a different light. I look forward to meeting you all online.

Cost: £5 plus booking fee

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/zoom-in-talkdiscover-salford-chapel-st-uni-tickets-116594570499

27th March The Water Road to Manchester – A Bridgewater Canal virtual tour 2021

Booking Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/145545260793

Sat, 27 March 2021 16:00 – 17:00 GMT

The Bridgewater Canal in Salford contains the oldest and the youngest parts of the 39 miles of the UK’s first commercial canal.

Explore this five-mile stretch of history where we will learn about how the area embraced coal, cotton, Suffragettes, brilliant engineers (and their engineering – mostly but not always.)

See the Castle in the Air and a cathedral in miniature – and how this all came about because of a lovelorn nobleman and a very important wheel of Cheshire cheese.

Look out for ‘God forgotten’ Worsley, the church built to enlighten them, a lighthouse 30 miles from the sea and the world’s only swing aqueduct at Barton.

Tickets to America, ghost stories, royalty and the weight of the world all feature in this virtual tour by Elizabeth Charnley, Green Badge guide for the Bridgewater Canal in Salford.