On the her­itage trail

ASH­TON CANAL

Canal Boat - - News -

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.

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