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Pathways are a film production company based in Calderdale, West Yorkshire featuring journeys highlighting the historical background and industrial landscapes found in the South Pennines, which is the home of the ‘Grand Depart’ of the Tour de France in July 2014.
Produced in 2001 “Walk on t’ Cut” is a 32 mile journey along the Rochdale Canal which begins in the centre of Manchester and transports you through the fascinating range of landscapes that are met as this ‘Everest of Canals’ rises into the heart of the South Pennines finishing in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire.
It highlights features of industrial archaeology, celebrating the fantastic achievements of the original engineers once known as “Navies” who carved out this “Cut” almost entirely by hand. Old photographs are used to capture the atmosphere of the time and local historians describe the story of the tireless campaign for it’s restoration leading to it's opening for navigation along its entire length in July 2002.
The film has live interviews with characters met along the way including lock-keepers, boat builders and lock builders and with those free spirits who have made the canal their home, whose answer to the question ‘Where next?’ is ‘Who knows?’
The route of the film takes in the cotton mill towns of Rochdale, Littleborough and Hebden Bridge, which boomed during the industrial revolution partly due to the improved transport which the canal provided.
Hollingworth Lake is now an outward bound and water sports centre but in earlier days it was a reservoir used to feed the Rochdale canal, we take a closer look at its history and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere it provides.
The market town of Todmorden, famous for its “Incredible-Edible” food growing scheme is visited as well as it’s magnificent Town Hall, one of many legacies left to the town by “The Fielden Family” well known in the cotton industry of years gone by. Finally we travel through the beautiful Calder Valley and enjoy villages with the wonderful names of Mankinholes, Lumbutts, Mytholmroyd and Luddenden Foot before arriving in Sowerby Bridge and the end of the canal.
The walk also depicts the canal as a wildlife corridor, home to a host of plants and animals and helicopter footage gives a unique view of the canal’s pathway winding through the hills as it portrays the relaxed nature of towpath walking, inviting you to tune into the gentle rhythms of canal life. Above all it celebrates the splendour of boats arriving in swarms from all over the country, crewed by people drinking in the wonderful scenery that this canal’s resurrection has made accessible.