The Leeds Liverpool Canal passes through the heart of Greenheart. At 127 miles long, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest single canal in Britain. Originally built for freight, today the canal offers boaters, walkers and cyclists an exhilarating opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
In Wigan, the waterway offers a rich variety of popular natural and industrial heritage. It links the majority of Wigan Borough’s Greenheart sites including Wigan Flashes, Pennington Country Park, Haigh Woodland Park and Bickershaw - all key Gateway sites. It also links with other major visitor attractions in the Borough such as Wigan Pier and Trencherfield Mill, Douglas Valley, Robin Park and the DW Stadium.
The Leigh Branch leaves the main line, just east of lock 52, extending all the way to the Bridgewater Canal in the centre of Leigh. It passes through a landscape once spoiled by mining but now carefully restored to parkland and a flourishing haven for varied wildlife.
Greenheart Jubilee Way
The majority of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath that runs through Wigan and Greenheart has now been dedicated as the Greenheart Jubilee Way following a royal visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester in July. The visit coincided with the completion of towpath upgrade between Bamfurlong and Pennington Flash and the official opening of Diamond Jubilee Marina at Bickershaw.
There is now a clear, good surfaced route suitable for walking, jogging, cycling and horse riding stretching between Leigh, Wigan Town Centre and Top Lock, Ince with branches running off on the Whelley Loop Line and from Wigan Town Centre through Haigh Plantations to Haigh Woodland Park.
The Bridgewater Canal was built in the 1760’s by the Duke of Bridgewater to carry coal from his mines at Worsley to the industrial areas of Manchester. The Bridgewater Canal was the first of its kind and today it is at the heart of Greenheart, representing the industrial past of the area.
In 2011 the canal celebrated 250 years since opening. To mark this occasion, a programme of improvements called the Bridgewater Way is taking place to make the 40 mile length of towpath easier to access and help people to enjoy this historic waterside. Work includes improved access points, new surfaces, new signage and seating. The improvements will help make it easier for people to enjoy the canal and help to make visitors to the canal feel safer.
In spring 2008, ten miles of the new improved route was opened. This included a section in Greenheart at Leigh. The work has been a great success and made a massive difference to people using the canal. It also links into the Leeds Liverpool Canal and the canal towpath improvements that have taken place between Leigh and Wigan.
Further improvements have taken place with a new access ramp close to King Street and the resurfacing of the towpath through to Bedford High School and on to Marsland Bridge. It is hoped in the future there will be opportunity to improve the towpath right through to Astley Mining Museum and the borough boundary with Salford, on to Worsley and beyond.
Jubilee Legacy Walks
To celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations of 2012, a series of 15 Legacy Walks were developed ranging from 1 to 9 miles. Each walk in Wigan Borough's green space is recognised by Silver, Gold and Diamond accreditation. View the details for each walk along with their respective map below.
From Leigh Bus station, walk due south to King Street Bridge and the start of Bridgewater Way.
Canal towpath with disabled access.