Most of the boats that you will see moored on the off side of the Canal opposite the towpath between Sale Bridge and Marsland Bridge are privately owned and belong to Members of the Sale Cruising Club (see www.salecruisingclub.co.uk). Short duration narrowboat trips are available from Worsley (The Bridgewater Heritage Boat Company) and from Manchester Castlefield (City Centre Cruises). Narrowboats can also be hired for holiday cruising, but from further afield along the Bridgewater Canal. For further information on boat hire, please see www.bridgewatercanal.co.uk .
There are also two rowing clubs along our stretch of the Canal: Manchester University Rowing Club, based just north of Dane Road Bridge, and Trafford Rowing Club, whose boathouse is in Walton Park.
See page Future Activities for details of FoBC's planned canal boat trips.
Cycling is to be permitted on the new Bridgewater Way, the much improved, wider, flatter and better-surfaced Canal towpath, which is being created, one short stretch at a time as funds become available. It will eventually extend 65 km (39 miles) along the Canal, but so far only 21km has been completed. We are lucky now to have 2 km of the Way between Sale Bridge and Stretford, Radnor Street. Other stretches completed go through Runcorn, Eccles and Leigh town centres.
The Bridgewater Canal is a popular place for coarse fishing, being home to several species including Common and Mirror Carp, Tench, Bream, Roach, Perch and Pike. Fishing on the Bridgewater is Members only. To fish there you have to be a Member of the Warrington Anglers Association, which operates an open Membership policy with no waiting list. Please see www.warrington-anglers.org.uk for further information and details of membership fees. There are no day tickets. Fishing is permitted from the towpath side only.
There is plenty to interest the nature-lover along the Canal, in, on and beside the water. Only a very few of the vast number of plant and animal species to be found there can be mentioned here. Plant highlights include the Hawthorn blossom in May, the Yellow Flag Irises in June and the enigmatic Royal Fern (on the 'off' side opposite The Bridge Inn, Dane Road). Canada Geese and Mallard are always present and you are quite likely to see Mute Swans, Grey Herons, Cormorants and both Grey and Pied Wagtails. On balmy summer days Dragonflies and brightly-coloured Damselflies flit about the vegetation at the water`s edge. And much more.
The Canal towpath is a great place to walk: usually tranquil and quite beautiful in places. The perspective of the Canal and towpath is pleasing on the eye and there are myriad reflections on the still waters to enjoy, even on our short stretch of waterway. In addition to the towpath, there are two public paths on the opposite or 'off' side of the Canal. The first, only 0.25 km long, can be accessed from Dane Road Bridge alongside Dane Road Industrial Estate and leads to Britannia Industrial Estate and on to Sale Station. The other, about 1.7 km long, is accessed from Brooklands Bridge and runs south to Timperley Station, exiting via the station platform. The first part of this up to the footbridge over the Metro line (at the end of Woodbourne Road) is in good condition for walking, but the latter part up to Timperley is not for the faint-hearted, being narrow, winding and overgrown with brambles in places.
The Trans Pennine Trail (www.transpenninetrail.org.uk) , beloved of walkers and cyclists, passes under the Canal just outside of our area, about 0.7 km north of the M60 Bridge at the Watch House, Stretford (the Club House of Stretford Cruising Club). The Metrolink line from Manchester to Altrincham runs alongside the Canal from Stretford Station to Timperley Station, which can be a godsend for getting weary walkers back to base.
See page Future Activities for details of FoBC's planned walks and local walking groups.