Paddle under the Pennines

Foulridge Tunnel, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, is to become the longest canal tunnel in the UK to open to canoes.

The mile-long, the 200 year old tunnel, looked after by the Canal & River Trust, is regularly used by canal boats, but from Saturday 03 June, canoeists will be able to paddle through for the first time.

It will take 10-25 minutes, depending on ability of the canoeist, to paddle through the tunnel. Entry will be via a traffic-light system, ensuring that canal boats and canoeists are admitted separately.

Chantelle Seaborn, waterway manager at the Canal & River Trust, who operate & maintain the tunnel, says: “Narrowboats have been a common sight at the Tunnel for over 200 years, but with more and more people getting into paddle sports each year we wanted to make it possible for them to go deep under the Pennines and experience one of Lancashire’s waterway wonders.”

The trust is opening the tunnel to canoeists as part of its plans for a coast-to-coast canoe trail that will stretch for 162 miles, connecting Liverpool to Goole along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and Aire & Calder Navigation.

Canoeist in the tunnel
Canoeist Greg Brookes tests out safety measures in the mile-long Foulridge Tunnel. (Photo by Barrington Coombs/Getty Images)

Safety precautions for canoeists include, checking the tunnel is clear of other craft before entering, wearing a forward facing bright white light and a personal flotation device with attached whistle. They advise that only experienced canoeists enter the tunnel alone.

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