On the heritage trail
THREE CANAL HERITAGE trails bringing to life the history surrounding the Ashton Canal east of Manchester’s city centre are available on a phone app, thanks to a two-year international EU-funded waterways heritage project.
The European Waterways Heritage ( EuWatHer) scheme has brought together universities in Brighton, Venice, Amsterdam and Girona ( Spain) to make waterways cultural heritage more easily accessible. The British part concentrated on the canals of the Manchester area, where the researchers found that (as senior lecturer Abigail Wincott explained) “Manchester’s heritage development has been dominated by the cotton industry” and its rich industrialists, as well as majoring on “the canals as dirty and industrial”.
By contrast the trails created cover other areas of heritage. One based around Ashton concentrates on stone: the limestone trade, stone buildings, and a glacial boulder from the ice age; the second and third cover the western part of the canal and concentrate on ‘buried heritage’ and ‘invisible heritage’ such as buried streams, old canal arms, disappeared industries, and oddities like a former pub buried under a railway station, all of which have left traces that can still be spotted.
The trails are already at waterwaysheritage. wordpress.com, are available on the izi.travel app, and will soon be on a bespoke app developed by the Dutch university team.