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Princes Dock | StNicholas Place | North Basin | PierHead Tunnel | South Basin | Museum | Mann Island

City of Liverpool


Dock Link


Stanley Dock Branch


0-3 miles


Bootle to Melling
3-12 miles


Maghull to Burscough
12- 24 miles


Rufford Branch


Burscough to Wigan
24 - 34 miles


34 - 37 miles


Leigh Branch


Former Lancaster Canal South


Johnson's Hillock to Cherry Tree
47 - 54 miles


54-59 miles

Towpath Treks

Liverpool Dock Link

In 1846 the mainline of the canal was linked to the docks by the Stanley Dock branch. This allowed boats to cross the Mersey from the grain warehouses on the Wirral, to enter the docks and then join the canal. When Georges Dock was filled in the direct link between the north and south docks was broken. With the docks filled in the famous 3 Graces were built on the reclaimed land in the early 1900s.

The Liverpool end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was classed as "Remainder" following the post war review of Englands inland waterways. This meant the section between Bootle and the terminus in Liverpool was not maintained for boating. The terminus itself was filled in the 1960s and more was filled in in the 1980s to build Eldonian Village.

A link from the Stanley Dock Branch to the marina in the South Docks was planned in the hope that it would bring more boaters to Liverpool and increase traffic on the canal. There were three proposed routes for the new canal link.  The one chosen takes the canal through the north docks and across the pier head in front of the famous Three Graces.

For photographs of the construction of the canal link click here

City of Leeds


127.25 miles


Shipley to Leeds
115 -125 miles


Stockbridge to Shipley
109 -115 miles


Skipton to Stockbidge
99 - 109 miles


Gargrave to Skipton
93 -99 miles


Greenberfield to Gargrave
87 - 93 miles


Foulridge to Greenberfield
82-87 miles


Burnley Lane to Foulridge Tunnel
75 -82 miles


71-75 miles


Rishton, Church and Hapton
59 - 71 miles

blogs: blog route map: map link access map:  
Click on the photographs to see a larger image and more information
The North Docks

Boats leaving the Stanley Dock enter first Collingwood Dock then Salisbury Dock, turning left in front of the six sided clock. There is then a channel which used to be simply for drainage but now it has been improved for boating. This takes you up to Waterloo Dock and Princes Half Tide Dock.

Leaving Stanley Dock Collingwood Dock Salisbury Dock Clock
clock and turbines looking north looking south New Bridge
along the link the north docks West Waterloo Dock  
Princes Half Tide Dock

The level of Princes Half Tide Dock was reduced during the canal construction. A new apartment building was built along side it.

Old Dock Gates Princes Half Tide Dock   Princes Half Tide Dock
Princes Dock

The old canal basin at Old Hall Street was once the closest point between the canal and the dock system. There was no direct link but goods were moved between dock and canal by cart. In recent years Princes Dock has been redeveloped with offices, residential tower blocks and hotels built around it. Some of this redevelopment has had to be adapted to allow for the canal link. The footbridge across the dock was too low to allow boats to pass underneath it and so was removed and re-positioned. Access from Waterloo Dock had to be reinstated.  At the south end of the dock a lock has been built to link to the new canal tunnel.

Bridge to Princes Dock Princes Dock Princes Dock Princes Dock Footbridge
Princes Dock Footbridge Princes Dock Lock in the Dock Lock Gates
In the lock in the dock The Lock Chamber Lock in the Dock Above the Tunnel
St Nicholas Place Tunnel

Between Princes Dock and the Pier Head is St Nicholas Place. A tunnel has been built across a car park which was once dock side buildings.  The old floating access road for the landing stage was once here, the narrow inlet has been filled in and the canal tunnel crosses it. This area is now once again an access point to the new landing stage.

Lock to Tunnel In the tunnel Leaving the Tunnel  
Tunnel Above the Tunnel Pier Head Along the tunnel top

North Basin

The tunnel from St Nicholas Place enters the North Basin. The area was lawns before the canal basin was dug. The excavations uncovered the old bus terminal. Former stone river walls were also uncovered.

Boat in the Basin Looking North Looking South Sailing South
Central Pier Head Tunnel

In front of the middle of the Three Graces is a tunnel linking the North and South Basins. The old Chinese restaurant and ferry buildings were demolished and a new ferry building built. The area is lawns once again with the canal underneath. Stone thought to be from one of the old Town Hall buildings was found.

  Above the Tunnel   Through the Tunnel
Pier Head Statues

The Pier Head is home to many memorials to those who died in the world wars and King Edward VII. The memorials were moved to allow for the canal construction. The statue of Edward VII was removed and taken away to be cleaned. The plinth was moved and rebuilt.

King Edward VII  
King Edward VII      
South Basin

At the southern end of the Pier Head, in front of the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board building is the South Basin. The basin has stepped sides and links up to the tunnel which passes under the new museum building.

South Basin
South Basin South Basin South Basin South Basin
Looking North Looking North   Under the Museum
Liverpool Museum

On the site of the old Manchester Dock a new museum is being built. When the foundations were being excavated the old lock gates were uncovered. A short part of the canal tunnel was built before the work started on the museum. The museum is partially over the canal which passes underneath in a tunnel. The museum is expected to be open by 2010

Manchester Dock Lock Gates Museum    
Mann Island

Mann Island was once covered with terraced houses with basement dwellings. Post war it had car show rooms and a large car park. The car show rooms were demolished and the site cleared. The basements of the old houses were uncovered and foundations of a building once part of a railway tunnel air ventilation system.  A lock into Canning Dock was built and a canal basin constructed on Mann Island.

The Tunnel from the Basin In the lock looking back to the basin In the lock looking out to the dock Leaving the lock
MDHB building reflected      
South Docks

Boats leave Mann Island and enter Canning Dock, then go through Albert Dock to reach the mooring pontoons in Salthouse Dock. For those who do not know the docks it is turn right, right, then turn left, left.

Leaving the lock Dock, Lock and Museum Entering the dock Turning right
  Entering Albert Dock Crossing Albert Dock Leaving Albert Dock
Pontoons Liverpool Dock  
Salthouse Dock Moored in the Dock Pontoons for Canal Boats  



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