Local bike ride to Haigh Hall & back

20th July 2021

Feeling fully recovered after Saturdays epic Cam Spout Ridge walk I thought I'd take advantage of the heat wave and hit the saddle after work. This evening I'll be cycling locally to Wigan's famous Haigh Hall via the Leeds & Liverpool canal which I will pick up close to where I live.

The plan was to catch the sunset then cycle home, a journey which is all down hill which if I hit the pedals hard should see me home within 25 minutes, 35 minutes faster than the outward bound section, however, I kinda messed up on the sunset arriving at Haigh Hall to find the sun lowering over woodland and out of view. The good news was if I hurried back I might be able to catch it a little closer to home.


Ascent: 445 Feet - 135 Metres
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Highs of °C Lows of °C
Parking: N.A
Area: Wigan
Miles: 10
Riding With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 276
Time Taken: 1 Hours 20 Minutes
Route: Leeds & Liverpool Canal - Britannia Bridge - Rose Bridge - Top Lock - Haigh Hall Plantations - Haigh Hall - Haigh Hall Plantations - Top Lock - Rose Bridge - Britannia Bridge - Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Map and Photo Gallery

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Top Lock (Leigh Branch)
I left home around 8pm which would give me around an hour to reach Haigh Hall, catch what I could of the sunset then pedal home. This is Top Lock with Bottom Lock about 300 yards behind me and possibly the most level section of the tow path.

Passing the site of the former Westwood Power Station.
It was along this section of the canal would the barges stop to unload coal for the power station. The site of the old Power Station is now owned by Nice-Pac which manufactures cosmetic wipes.

Empty coal barges, Westwood Power Station circa 1950's - photo courtsey of Wigan World.

I'm old enough to remember the Power Station minus the coal barges of course.
The demolition of Westwood Power Station 1989 - photo courtsey of Wigan World.

One of main things I remember about the Power Station was when its two cooling towers were demolished which was the talk of the town for weeks.

The canal passes under Manchester Road via Britannia Bridge (1816)
Time to ease off the gas as I approach a zebra crossing as I cross Manchester Road.

Lock 84 Britannia Bridge.
From here 21 locks enable the canal to rise 65.5ft which is named the Wigan Flight.

Swan and Cygnet's.

Kirkless Hall Bridge (1816) from lock 70
Not only does the canal rise the tow path does too, the flip side to that is on my way home it's all down hill.

Kirkless Hall Bridge (1816)
It's a tight squeeze to get under the bridge so I head left up the ramp and down the other side.

Looking down on Wigan Flight.
The canal here was widenend to enable barges to moor as they sailed up and down the flight. Even todays modern narrow boats can take up to a day to travel the full flight which got me thinking how long would it have taken a fully laiden coal barge back in the day.

Top Lock Bridge
Taken from the same spot looking towards Top Lock.

Top Lock Bridge circa 1960's - image courtesy of Wigan World.
The lock keepers cottage is still occupied by the present lock keeper who's bottom right window can still be seen in the above photo. The Top Lock Inn seen behind the lock keepers cottage was demolished during the 1970's.

Monk Hall Bridge (Listed) from Top Lock
The canal takes a sharp change of direction here, as the planned line of the Lancaster Canal went straight on, through Monk Hall Bridge. Only a short, partly dried-up section exists beyond the bridge. It had been originally planned for the Lancaster Canal to continue here to Westhoughton and Salford. In 1864, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal took over the section of the Lancaster Canal from Wigan Top Lock.

Continuing along the tow path...
...towards Haigh Hall.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal (Haigh Hall)
You may or may not recognise this section of the canal when during Winter lock down I walked here with Brad and Holly, back then the tow path was very icy, this evening it's just as I prefer it, hot and dusty.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Haigh Park Bridge
After reaching Haigh Park bridge I left the tow path and cycled the mile or so through Haigh Hall plantations towards Haigh Hall.

Paddle boarders, Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Setting sun, Haigh Hall.
Whose great idea was it to paint white lines along the approach to one of Wigan's grandest listed buildings! Thankfully the Hall is back in the hands of Wigan Council who plan to return it to its former glory.

Moon over Haigh Hall Golf Course.

Haigh Hall Golf Course 8:50pm
My best laid plans had turned to dust as I estimated that I should have be able to watch the sun go down from here when in actual fact the sun is over to the right slowly going setting into a wooded area, oh well it was just a guess so not to worry.

Cracking views though.
It's probably best I should start making my way home as I've come out without lights on the bike.


Back at Haigh Park Bridge.
The light is beginning to fade now.

Sunset looking towards Springs Bridge

Trencherfield Mill from Henhurst Bridge (former Chapel Lane Bridge) Wigan 9:20pm
Hitting the pedals hard it didn't take long to travel the 5 miles back to Wigan where I caught this view of the sun setting behind Trencherfield Mill, the last of its light catching the windows of Eckersley Mill seen over on the left.

What a cracking way to spend the evening.


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