The Macclesfield Canal was opened on 9th November 1831 at a cost of £32,000. It was one of the last narrow canals constructed in England. The canal is noted for its fine stone bridges, particularly the six change or snake bridges where the towpath changes sides of the canal.
It runs for about 27 miles from its junction with the Peak Forest canal at Marple to Hall Green, on the Trent & Mersey canal, via 12 locks at Bosley (between the towns of Macclesfield and Congleton).
From the mid-19th century, railways began to replace canals. The canal network declined, and many canals were bought by railway companies. The Macclesfield canal passed into the hands of the railways for about 100 years. Commercial operations finished in about the 1960's.
The canal was built to serve the mills, mines and quarries of the Marple, Poynton, Bollington, Macclesfield and Congleton areas as well as to provide a link from Manchester to the Potteries and Midlands in competition with the Trent & Mersey, Bridgewater router. Goods were shipped and received at Congleton Wharf, an important administrative centre for the canal.
The canal is now part of the network owned and managed by the charity, the Canal & River Trust.