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RE­SEARCHERS from Brighton Univer­sity are near­ing the end of a project to in­ves­ti­gate the her­itage of the Ash­ton and Rochdale canals in Greater Manch­ester.

Dr Abi­gail Win­cott, Dr Paul Gilchrist and Pro­fes­sor Neil Raven­scroft have looked at a va­ri­ety of re­sources, in­clud­ing the Tameside Lo­cal Stud­ies and Ar­chives Cen­tre in Ash­ton.

Abi­gail Win­cott said: “This is one of the best lo­cal stud­ies cen­tres we’ve seen.

“There is so much ma­te­rial in this ar­chive that is yet to be dis­cov­ered and used.

“The town has a fas­ci­nat­ing and im­por­tant his­tory – very rich, very colour­ful.”

The team has cre­ated three colour­ful mul­ti­me­dia trails for An­coats, Holt Town/ Beswick and Droyls­den to Ash­ton-un­der-Lyne.

The Droyls­den to Ash­ton trail was dif­fi­cult to pro­duce be­cause there were so many sto­ries to choose from, yet many of the ma­te­rial re­mains, like mines, mills and houses, had gone.

In the end the team chose the theme of ‘stones’.

The tour en­cour­ages tow­path walk­ers to think twice about the stone walls, cob­bles and lumps of con­crete they pass along the tow­path and around town.

The trails can be found on the Izi.travel web­site and mo­bile app.

“This is just the start,” Abi­gail ex­plains. “If you have knowl­edge about the lo­cal area, es­pe­cially the canals, then we want you to pro­duce more trails for peo­ple to en­joy.”

She hopes trails might fea­ture lo­cal build­ings and in­dus­tries, fam­ily his­to­ries and so­cial move­ments as well as the many char­ac­ters who have lived here over the years.

“If you’ve done some fam­ily his­tory re­search, if you re­mem­ber cam­paign­ing for the canal to be re­stored, if you have al­ways won­dered what that funny look­ing build­ing used to be – get down to the Lo­cal Stud­ies and Ar­chive Cen­tre, get your old photos out, get talk­ing to peo­ple, and it could all be the start of a mem­o­rable her­itage trail.”

The trails and more in­for­ma­tion on the project can be found on the project blog: wa­ter­waysher­itage. word­press.com.

Al­ter­na­tively, fol­low the Twit­ter up­dates @ww her­itage and at www. tameside.gov.uk/. ar­chives. ●

Junc­tion Mill, taken from Peak For­est Canal, Ash­to­nun­der-Lyne

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