Back by popular demand for 2023 – 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.)
Sunday 14th May, 9th July, 3rd September & 22nd October 2023
Adults £13 plus booking fee
For children under 12 use promo code CHILD – price £6 plus fee.
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
Known also by the name Alexatours, I am a local lass with a great passion for heritage. I offer tours on all aspects of cultural heritage and history. I provide public and bespoke tours 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, Stately Homes and at venues of other significant interest. If you are looking for a fun-fact educational tour or walk for coach or walking groups of all ages, let me share my passion for local history, the arts, politics and our industrial past.
I am a member of Manchester Guided Tours & Cumbria Guides as well as Bridgewater Canal Guided Tours. (I also do tour management and bespoke architectural & World War tours of the UK & France by arrangement)
I have lived in Greater Manchester since 1989, having moved north deliberately in search of the landscapes I saw on so many early 1960s films (especially the views from the moors). I have not been disappointed, it is a great place to work, rest and play, as they say.
The Bridgewater Canal and its environs in the city of Salford in particular offer many places that illustrate the heritage, the arts and the wonderful greenscape.
I want to help people explore these areas so we can all learn and create together a new experience of a unique area in the world and can offer a range of guided walks to do this. If you would like to discuss with me your specific requirements then please do get in touch.
As a Green Badge Guide for the Bridgewater Canal in Salford, I feel perfectly at home in the canal environment, having grown up living close to the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal.
The Bridgewater Canal in Salford is diverse, beautiful, historical and modern at the same time.
I love telling my guests stories of its people (famous & not so famous,) places, neighbourhood areas and unique treasures such as the Barton Swing Aqueduct & Worsley Delph.
I am happy to guide groups on walking tours, bike tours and Nordic Walking tours combining a guided tour with a workout. I can also do a guided tour commentary for your boat trip along the Bridgewater Canal
My specialties are guiding children & families, school groups and those with walking or sensory disabilities. I am also available to give illustrated talks and lectures about the Bridgewater Canal to groups of all ages and interests.
Before qualifying as a tourist guide I worked in the NHS, initially as a pharmacy technician and later as a manager. I still work for the NHS, but now as a volunteer community first responder with the North West Ambulance Service.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org
On Worsley Green there is an iron bollard sat on its own and looking very out of place.
Have you ever wondered why it is there?
What is a bollard?
A bollard is a sturdy, short, vertical post and originally described a post on a ship or wharf used principally for using ropes to secure boats.
The word is probably related to bole, referring to a tree trunk.
From the 17th and 18th centuries, old cannon were often buried muzzle first to be used as bollards on quaysides.
From the 19th century bollards were purpose-made, but often inherited a similar “cannon” shape.
What about our bollard?
Worsley Green used to be a busy industrial yard dating from the opening of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761. The yard built up around the Delph area to service the mines and canal at Worsley. It was not until the early 20th century that the yard was turned into the green that we know today. Our bollard is one of the last remnants of Worsley Yard.
An Ordnance Survey (OS) map from 1848 shows a mineral railway from Sanderson Pit (colliery), just east of Roe Green to the coal staithe on the canal at Worsley. At the time the coal wagons were moved by gravity and horses.
In 1864 the Eccles, Tyldesley & Wigan Railway opened which ran through Worsley Woods between Monton Green and Roe Green. It was connected to the mineral railway at Sanderson’s Siding. This led to the first steam locomotive being delivered to Worsley Yard in 1870 to replace horsepower and a branch line with an engine shed was built.
The OS map from around 1900 shows the area of the yard and the railway with location of new houses and green superimposed:
The bollard is opposite house No.146 and is shown on the map next to the railway that crossed the yard. It was close to the engine shed and was possibly used to tie up locomotive or wagons.
In 1905 the yard was cleared of almost all evidence of its industrial past and the houses we see today were built around what we now know as Worsley green. All that remains is the base of the yard chimney which became the Duke of Bridgewater memorial, the sluice for the culverted Worsley Brook, the ‘ghosts’ of the railway sleepers…And of course, our own ‘Worsley Yard Iron Bollard’ which is now over 150 years old and if sentient would have stories to tell.
Map of Worsley Green: From Ordnance Survey map survey of 1889, revised in 1904 and published 1908 (Image copied from Alan Godfrey Maps edition published 2003).
Thanks for additional detail of houses built around the Green and map provided by John Aldred.
Written by Mark Charnley, Bridgewater Canal Green Badge Guide.
Eccles cakes are a sweet pastry cake filled with dried fruits, usually currants and raisins, sugar, spices and sometimes butter.
The true origins of the cake are not known but the first recorded recipe for something like an Eccles Cake and called “sweet patties” was published by Elizabeth Raffald, housekeeper at Arley Hall, Cheshire in 1769 as part of a book of 800 recipes. The recipe included boiled calf’s foot as well as dried fruit.
In 1793, James Birch opened a bakery in Eccles and started to sell cakes similar to Elizabeth Raffald’s sweet patties and they quickly became known as Eccles cakes.
Eccles cakes proved very popular and were exported to Australia, America, the West Indies and Spain. Alcohol was added (usually brandy or rum) as a preservative for exported cakes.
Eccles cakes do not have protected status as that afforded to Stilton cheese or Melton Mowbray pork pies, so they are made and sold in many countries across the world.
Few places make Eccles cakes commercially in Eccles now. The major manufacturer is the Real Lancashire Eccles Cake company which is in Ardwick, Manchester. A local commercial bakery, Quayside, on the Lyntown industrial estate beside the railway between Eccles and Patricroft stations is the largest producer locally in Eccles. Two local small bakeries also make their own Eccles cakes: Law’s bakery on Parrin Lane, Winton, Eccles (near Monton church) and Wards Bakery on Barton Lane.
In 2004 and again in 2013, Eccles cakes made national headlines as Greggs bakery stopped selling Eccles cakes in all its shops, claiming there was no market for them, customers preferring chocolate cakes and muffins. In 2013, during the Eccles Cake Festival, they again refused to stock them, even in their Eccles branch.
Lancashire Fire service have reported that Eccles cakes can catch fire if heated in a microwave oven, possibly due to the sugar content so if you prefer warm Eccles cakes, it is best to reheat them in the oven.
In the 2013 Eccles cake festival there was a competition called the “Great Eccles Cake-off” to find the best amateur bakers including the best Eccles cake. The winner, a Mrs E Charnley of Eccles, received one dozen Eccles cakes as a prize (!)
So, love them or loathe them, call them dead fly cakes, fly pies, fly cemeteries, sweet patties, eat them hot or cold, from a famous chef recipe or an old favourite, enjoy this fine and tasty treat from Eccles, preferably one of the locally made ones!
Elizabeth Charnley is a Green Badge Guide for the Bridgewater Canal.
Looking today at the recently refurbished Worsley Delph, we can see a floodlit cross feature set within a distinctive stone-faced water filled hollow. This former stone quarry was used for many of the local buildings but it was the start of the Bridgewater Canal, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.
Francis Egerton, the third Duke of Bridgewater, wanted to mine his coal deposits out of his land. Coal had been mined in Lancashire for centuries but the Worsley mines ran deep and kept flooding. Influenced by his father’s idea to drain the mines, Francis Egerton decided to cut a water course to help reduce flooding, access and retrieve the coal and also transport it to market.
In 1761, the Bridgewater Canal from Worsley Delph to Manchester was completed. Coal from the Worsley colliery canal tunnels and other local pits could get to market quickly and more cheaply than ever before.
The main consumers for this coal initially were households for cooking and heating, however, a constant and much cheaper supply led to demand from industry such as brick-making, metal trades, glass-making and eventually to larger scale manufacturing industries involving imported raw cotton. Due to fact that almost 50% of the world’s raw cotton was manufactured in the 19th century was traded from Manchester, it became a wealthy city known as ‘Cottonopolis’.
Learn more about the Worsley Delph, the mines, the people who created or visited the canal and the meaning of the public art on one of our Worsley Tours. The Creative Worsley tour also includes the artists musicians architects and writers associated with the first cut canal in England.
Alexandra runs regular tours around the Bridgewater canal.