Canal and Rivers


Unwind and enjoy Burnley’s waterways – the canal, rivers and reservoirs are great places to escape to; walk by the river, take a boat trip along the canal or go windsurfing or sailing on the reservoirs. The area is rich in wildlife, excellent for fishermen and relaxing for everyone.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal

The Burnley section of the canal includes one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the British Canal system’ – ‘The Straight Mile’ (the impressive embankment that carries the canal 60 feet above the town), the 559-yard Gannow Tunnel and the Yorkshire Street ‘Culvert’.  From Reedley Marina to Hapton Boat Yard via the Weavers’ Triangle this part of the canal is a fascinating place to visit.

Today the canal is used mainly for recreation from fishing and cycling to walking and canoeing. There is an abundance of wildlife along its banks and a wide assortment of waterfowl including swans, mallards and grebes.  So whether you are on foot, boat or bicycle, if you keep your eyes open you will see how amazing this artery through the town really is.


Burnley has two rivers the River Calder – a major tributary of the River Ribble and the River Brun thought to be the shortest River in England. The Calder starts in Cliviger,  flowing through Towneley Park and into the town centre through a culvert on the canal embankment,  it passes Ightenhill and Gawthorpe Hall before meeting the River Ribble 15 miles (24KM) away at Great Mitton.

The much smaller Brun runs northwest from Hurstwood through Rowley Lake, Queen’s Park and Thompson Park before joining the River Calder in the town centre. Both rivers attract abundant wildlife and the River in particular is good for fishing and canoeing. Look out for the Salmon ladders where you will see wild salmon returning to spawn in the upper reaches of the river.


Cant Clough – An excellent spot for walkers to see the limestone ‘Hushings’ in Shedden Clough – the site of limestone extraction in the 17th and 18th centuries; and it’s a great place for bird watchers who may be able to catch some of the rare species in their natural habitat on Worsthorne Moor.

Clowbridge – On the moors to the south of Burnley Clowbridge Reservoir is the home of Rossendale Valley Sailing Club a windsurfing and sailing school for all ages and abilities. As well as several walks in the area there is also a permanent orienteering course around the reservoir.

Coldwell – To the north east of Burnley Coldwell Reservoir is the home of Coldwell Activity Centre with its tea rooms, sensory gardens and woodland orienteering course.

Hurstwood – Near to historic Hurstwood village, the reservoir is a great place for walkers with trails leading up through the surrounding woodlands. Riders following the Mary Towneley Loop will pass the reservoir as the bridleway continues out of Burnley intoYorkshire.

For more information on visiting Burnley click here