The Narrows

The Aqueduct

The Viaduct

On the "Narrows" side of the Aqueduct a footpath on the right descends towards the River Goyt below and passes under the Aqueduct in the direction of Watermeetings Farm. The sign next to this footpath, seen in the photograph below, has now disappeared.

Notice the spelling of Aquiduct!

This view is only possible in winter

In days gone by a fantastic view of this magnificent structure was possible from the footpath but unfortunately it's now so obscured by trees and undergrowth that it can only be seen with anything approaching clarity in the winter months.

The Aqueduct viewed from the footpath to Watermeetings Farm around a
hundred years ago. The way it was and could be again with a little effort.

The year 2000 was the Aqueduct's Bi-centenary, although for a time during the 1960's it seemed likely that this anniversary would never be achieved. Now a listed structure, it was due to be commemorated with the erection of a blue plaque in the millennium year; however, this did not happen until 2010. Perhaps, now it has, the scene could be returned to something like that shown in the Victorian postcard above. It would increase the attraction of the area immensely if the trees were cleared locally and the footpath improved to make the most of this marvellous asset.

The black and white photograph above shows the aqueduct repairs underway in the 1960s. In April 2003 there was a memorial to Dr. Cyril Boucher erected alongside the Aqueduct. Dr. Boucher played a key role in the restoration of Marple Locks and Aqueduct and the memorial is a fitting tribute to his efforts.

When canal boats were still pulled by horses times and attitudes were much harder than they are today. It was unlikely that an old horse would be put out to grass for its final years and they frequently died "in harness".  To avoid the cost of paying the knacker to dispose of the bodies they were usually buried by their owners in a convenient spot. The woods below the Aqueduct was one such location and became a regular graveyard for these unfortunate animals. 

A considerable number of horses were buried here over the years but they are not there any longer. When the bones were later discovered by other boatmen, ever wise to a way of making some extra cash, they dug them up and sold them to the old bone mill near Strines Printworks.

The Aqueduct from the base of the Viaduct
Enter Brabyns Park near Lock 2 to reach this spot

One of the alcoves for pedestrians

There are four alcoves on the towpath side of the Aqueduct, which can be seen in the photograph above right. These were included to provide pedestrians with places to stand and allow the horses that pulled the boats to pass.

The channel of the Aqueduct was only made wide enough for one-way traffic to keep construction costs to a minimum. At the Marple end it opens out to accommodate two-way traffic before then passing under the railway viaduct.

The Narrows

The Aqueduct

The Viaduct

This page is part of the Marple Locks Virtual Tour