The Pennine Hills across the canal

Huddersfield to Marsden – A walk along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Canal walks have a strong appeal with their unfolding landscapes, wildlife, alternative and intriguing lifestyle options and the general tranquility and peace they bring to all who pass by.

Take a turn from the industrial center of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, away from views of the historic site of Castle Hill and the Victoria Tower that dominates the skyline, onto the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for a walk with plenty to offer.

Walking along this 8 mile stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal you pass the villages of Milnsbridge, Linthwaite, Slaithwaite and Marsden before finally reaching the Standedge Tunnel – Britain’s highest, deepest and at 3.25 miles longest canal tunnel.

Watching activity on the canal

The scenery along the towpath is full of dramatic contrasts – city life, crumbling historic mills, industrial buildings, leafy woodland before opening up to stunning views of the rolling, rugged Pennine Hills.

Social walks with baldhiker

Leaf reflections

It’s quite simply a walk that has it all and more, starting with the industrial center of the town and then ending in the tranquil greenery of the Colne Valley as you leave Milnsbridge and head towards Slaithwaite with beautiful open countryside and views over the long away from villages high above the valley.

Tunnel framing the view

On leaving Huddersfield, along the Milnsbridge to Slaithwaite section, at Linthwaite, you pass on the left the imposing Grade II listed Titanic Mill dating back to 1911.

View of Titanic Mill

The mill was originally called Lowestwood Mill but became known locally as Titanic Mill due to its status as one of the largest woolen mills in the Huddersfield area and the fact that it was built the same year that the RMS Titanic was launched.

The mill now houses 130 apartments and a luxurious Spa.

The Slaithwaite to Marsden section is particularly picturesque, leafy and green with the striking contrast of the black and white locks.

One of the 74 locks along the canal

Intriguing paths shoot out from the main towpath along this stretch of canal, enticing the walker to explore the woodland trails and venture deeper into the countryside.

Back on the towpath, this canal walk stops at the Grade II listed Standedge Tunnel with an opportunity to enjoy the view, have a drink at the Watersedge Café and visit the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre, which tells the story of the tunnel, from planning to over 200 years of history, including the story of its rescue, restoration and reopening in 2001 after 50 years of abandonment.

Stand-edge visitor center

This is a fantastic walk with so many options along the way and opportunities to get off the towpath and visit the beautiful, bustling mill villages of Slaithwaite on the canal (pronounced ‘Slath-wait’ or ‘Slath-wit’ if you’re local) and Marsden , where you will find an abundance of independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

View of The Mechanics Institute, the clock tower and the village of Marsden

The towpath itself offers some fantastic options for refreshments, including the Zapato Brewing taproom and riverside beer garden, the wonderfully quirky Wild Café, and the Olive Branch restaurant and beer garden.

Reflections in the channel

Returning to the starting point of your walk is easy:

  • If you feel fit you can take an 8 mile walk, retrace your steps and continue enjoying the beautiful scenery back to Huddersfield.
  • Bus/Train – There are train stations and bus routes in the villages along the way that take you directly back to Huddersfield.
Arrived at the village of Slaithwaite

Arriving at the edge of the wild beauty of the Marsden Moor Estate, this walk through an ever-changing landscape is a celebration of the collaboration between industry and nature, the man-made and natural and the history between the two.

You may also like:

  • Conder Green and Stodday Circular – A Lancashire Canal & River Walk
  • Walking from Bingley to Skipton on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
  • Greenberfield Locks – The top of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
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