Sunday, 28 June 2015

Fairbottom Branch Canal and Tramway - Waterhouses Junction to Park Bridge

This is Waterhouses Junction, the start of the Fairbottom Branch Canal. This path branches away part way along Hollinwood Branch Canal 3 - Stannybrook Road to Crime Lake.

The canal has water in it at this point and is quite wide.

The path has a good quality grit surface and at this point there are open views to the south.

However, the canal isn't open water for long and fills with plants as the hedgerow starts.

There are a number of benches if you need a rest.

Here the canal crosses Valley Aqueduct near Valley Farm over what used to be the main road used by coaches and wagons between Oldham and Ashton. Here the canal is filled in and is completely dry.

After the aqueduct stay on the right hand side, the path to the left is a path for horses.

Now the canal is in water and this spot is popular with fishermen.

At Bardsley bridge there is access out to the road via a barrier.

Here the canal is dammed to keep the water back from the bridge. The bridge is low because of mining subsidence and the canal closed at this point in 1904 as a result.

It is a steep and rough climb up on the other side.

Here the canal bed is used as a muddy bridleway whilst the tow path is on the right. The tow path here does get muddy in the wet.

The path soon becomes more wooded.

Whilst a bit muddy in places the towpath is pretty good.

The two paths then divide for a while

and come back together as they reach Fenny Field Bridge over the River Medlock. This is the end of the canal.

From here a tramway ran up to Park Bridge. The cycle route roughly follows the route of that tramway.

First it dives into the verge on the left just before the road signs,

then swings round

and back out beside Waggon Road, the route of the tramway.

Here the path is soft and sandy as it is designed for horses rather than pedal cycles. However, it is far better than the cobbled road.

The path takes you up to Park Bridge.

Here there is just one thing missing...

the bridge itself. The viaduct that carried the railway was demolished.

At this point you can join the Ashton to Oldham Greenway in either direction.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info, now I can ride from Great ancoats to Saddleworth with hardly any going on roads, Medlock path to eastlands, then Philips park, then Clayton vale and now this. If only there was a decent route through the city centre (Portland street perhaps) then a real day out with the kids would be in order.