Running between Manchester and Ashton under Lyne, the Ashton Canal runs through New Islington, Holt Town, and Clayton.
This former industrial urban waterway has undergone major improvements in recent years, particularly for the Commonwealth Games in 2002 with the City of Manchester Stadium standing proudly on its banks. A stroll along its towpath is now one of the easiest and most pleasant ways to get from Manchester city centre to the sports facilities at Eastlands.
It forms part of the ‘Cheshire Ring’ and links the Huddersfield Narrow and Peak Forest Canals with the Rochdale and Bridgewater Canals. As well as its use as a green thoroughfare and for leisure boating, the canal towpaths are increasingly popular for walking, cycling and fishing, turning it effectively into a linear park.
Many of the old mill buildings lining part of its route have also been redeveloped, creating attractive waterside apartment complexes and bringing new life to East Manchester’s industrial heritage.