Marple Aqueduct Parapet

Marple, Greater Manchester, UK - Marple Aqueduct is one of the Canal & River Trust’s most iconic structures. It is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, being the tallest masonry-arch aqueduct in the country. However, the aqueduct was built with no parapet on the ‘offside’ of the canal channel, away from the towpath. Increasing visitor numbers and reports of near misses have led to the decision to install a parapet, in order to improve public safety at the site. Working in collaboration with Canal & River Trust and Knight Architects, Arcadis have designed a bespoke solution, which will form a sympathetic and lasting addition to the structure.

Improved safety

For canal and towpath users

120m

Length of parapet to be installed
Marple Aqueduct

Image courtesy of Knight Architects

Carrying the Peak Forest Canal across the Goyt Valley to the east of Stockport in Greater Manchester, Marple Aqueduct dates from the end of the 18th Century, and remains a popular route and destination for recreational canal and towpath users.

Under the Professional Services Contract for the Canal & River Trust, Arcadis was appointed to carry out the design of a bespoke parapet. The concept, created by Knight Architects, consists of a vertical element ‘woven’ between two low-level rails and a top rail as a single self-intersecting ‘thread’. These vertical elements form the ‘warp’, and the horizontal rails form the ‘weft’: a subtle reference to the nearby site of Mellor Cotton Mill, which the canal would have served.

A key component of the project was designing the anchorages to have the least possible impact on the historic stonework of the structure. For this reason, the primary fixings were positioned in the existing concrete, set back from the stones. The frequency and size of secondary fixings within the coping stones were kept to a minimum. The structural elements are to be formed from high-strength stainless steel, to meet the structural loading requirements of current parapet standards.

The design has been met with universal approval and enthusiasm from the client, and numerous heritage stakeholders. After extensive consultation, Planning Permission and Scheduled Ancient Monument consent were granted in July 2017. The works will be carried out by the Canal & River Trust’s Framework Contractor, Kier, and the delivery phase of the project is planned in early 2018.

Outcomes

Improved safety

For canal and towpath users

120m

Length of parapet to be installed

1800

Year aqueduct was first brought into use

Questions about this project

Jon Royds

Technical Director (Structures) Ask me a question