Falling tree blocks canal on peak holiday weekend

The Peak Forest Canal at Bridgemont was blocked on Bank Holiday Saturday and Sunday after a large branch fell from a beech tree across the towpath and the entire width of the canal.

It happened in high wind at about 4pm on the Saturday.  No-one was injured. A few narrowboats on holiday cruises to Buxworth or Whaley Bridge had passed the spot where the incident happened as little as one hour before the tree fell.  No-one knows if any walkers were near the spot at the time, although over a holiday weekend it would have been a popular walking destination.

Emergency teams of men with power saws arrived on the scene on Sunday morning, The towpath was closed for some time, although many walkers had scrambled over the tree trunk to continue their journey.

Debris from the tree, including leaves and blossom, covered the canal surface.

A number of boats were held up overnight, with passengers anxious to get home to Marple or Poynton.

A crewman on one boat, who raised the alarm with British Waterways, said the local BW representative was in touch within 10 minutes.

A spokesman for the Whaley Water Weekend, taking place on 11 and 12 June, said:  “An incident like this would have been a disaster to W3., with hired boats trapped on the wrong side.  Let’s hope there is no recurrence.”