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Horse subway on the Peak Forest Canal, Whaley Bridge, 1981
2 August 1981
About this image
The horse subway on the Buxworth arm of the Peak Forest Canal at Bridgemont looking north. Although sometimes referred to as Etchell's Stop Aqueduct, this arch is in fact the western extremity of the longer Bridgemont Aqueduct, which comprises the subway, a lengthy stretch of embankment formed of stone retaining walls and an arch across the River Goyt. The word 'stop' refers to a narrowing of the canal channel with stone-built slots where 'stop planks' could be inserted to permit draining of a particular stretch of waterway. This was important with a structure such as an aqueduct in order to allow maintenance. A stop place at the other end of Bridgemont Aqueduct - Bings Wood Stop - disappeared when the Chapel-en-le-Frith Bypass was constructed in the 1980s.
The Peak Forest Canal is just under 15 miles in length and extends from Dukinfield, Manchester via Marple and New Mills to Bridgemont where it splits with an eastern arm running to Buxworth and a southern arm to Whaley Bridge. It was engineered by Benjamin Outram and opened throughout in 1800, although traffic had been using the upper part since 1796. The waterway consists of two level pounds joined by the flight of 16 locks at Marple which raise the canal 209 feet (64 metres) over the course of 1 mile (1.6 km). Traffic declined with the coming of the railways and by the early 1960s the canal was impassable. However, the Peak Forest Canal Society and the Inland Waterways Association campaigned for restoration and navigation was restored up to Whaley Bridge in 1974 (although the Buxworth arm had to wait until 2005).