Canals in Yorkshire competed with the turnpikes in the era before the coming of the railways. Some, like the Aire and Calder Navigation and the Don Navigation, were built to make the river system navigable. Others, like the Calder & Hebble Navigation (the first part of which opened in 1770) and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (opened in 1816) were constructed to provide transport routes into the towns and across the Pennines.
Barge operators charged their customers by the ton and by the mile, so the distance travelled was very important. Most inland canals and some river navigations had milestones. Whereas many roadside milestones have disappeared during road widening, the canals have been little affected and milestones can still be found on the Calder & Hebble Navigation and the Huddersfield Broad and Narrow Canals. The characteristic triangular cast iron mileposts on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are replacements for earlier milestones, few of which remain today. Replica milestones can also be found on the Rochdale Canal.
A walk along the canal towpath provides a quiet respite from the bustle of traffic and a chance to find interesting milestones from the canal era.
More photographs to follow.
RWH / January 2012