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The Superhighway to Wigan Pier Canal Technology Local History Electricity and the Canal Wildlife Superhighway Economic Benefits


The Canal and Rivers Trust calls the  canal network, “a living museum”. The Leeds to Liverpool Canal in Merseyside is over 240 years old so it has a long history to explore.

Canals revolutionised 18th century transport;- and the world! They were the motorways of their day, and you can read about the role of the canal in Sefton as the Superhighway to Wigan Pier.  

Of course, you would expect a museum to show you ancient artefacts, and the canal does just that. You may not recognise them because you see them all of the time, but a lot of that canal technology  is over 200 years old.

They started digging the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, or at least this section of it, in 1770, and it was in use from 1774 to 1968, so it has a long, full history tied up with the expansion of Liverpool and Bootle.

One unexpected aspect of this was the use of the canal as a route for an electrical connection from the Clarence Dock Power Station in Liverpool to National Grid station at Litherland.

So much for the past. These days, the Canal and Rivers Trust points out that the canal is a green corridor and hundreds of different plants and animals can find their way right into the centre of our towns and cities along it. A guided walk along the towpath will show you, they are wildlife superhighways.

Although the canal is no longer in commercial use, it still provides many economic benefits to the local area as a unique green space.  Cyclists, walkers, canoeists and kayakers enjoy the challenge of travelling the whole length of the canal, while boaters just enjoy the picturesque scenery. Schools can make use of the canal as an outdoor classroom to learn about wildlife and history, while the rest of us can use take advantage of the cooler, fresher air away from the dust and pollution from the traffic on the roads.