The Lancaster Canal wends its way around Garstang some seventeen canal miles northwards from Preston and thirteen canal miles south of Lancaster. This is somewhat further than the land distance as the Lancaster Canal leaves Preston heading west in a large loop around before gaining a more northerly course. For the purpose of this information we shall refer to north as being towards Tewitfield and south towards Preston.
With the canal passing close to the town centre Garstang is the ideal place to take a stroll around this pretty rural market town, market day Thursdays, or take on board provisions from one of the three supermarkets in the town attend to needs at the local chemists enjoy a takeaway , restaurant or pub meal or enjoy a pleasant evening out. You can find all the Garstang information at www.garstang.org
The Garstang reaches of the Lancaster Canal include Barnacre, Bonds, Garstang itself and Nateby and runs from bridge 54 Kenlis Arms Hotel to bridge 66 Nateby Hall.
We start at bridge 54 as there are a couple of points of interest here, leaving the towpath and entering the road turn right cross over the canal and walk under the railway bridge and to your left you will see the Kenlis Arms Hotel, a small family run hotel serving excellent food and being the home of Garstang Unplugged who hold monthly live music sessions throughout eleven months of the year and bring in touring artists monthly during the summer.
To your left up the embankment is the site of the former Catterall and Garstang railway station. Dr Beeching, the destroyer of the railways, closed this in the sixties.
Cruising north we are in rural farmland with the railway to our right and the M6 motorway beyond the railway. Bridges 55, 56 and 57 are farm bridges 55 and 56 carrying footpaths, north of bridge 57 the canal turns to the left and from here over to the right you will see the remains Greenhalgh castle. Continuing to bridge 58 Dimples Lane. North of bridge 58 is a turning point for boats and from here to bridge 63 the towpath is tarmac. On the left we see the one of the local football pitches the Beeches its on quite a slope but many a Garstang boy has strutted his stuff here over the years.
Continuing on through bridge 59 formerly known as Garstang Turnpike Bridge then Highroad Bridge I’m not sure if it has a name these days however there is a turning point just through the bridge, a new development of houses to our right and up the hill to our left Bowgreave.
Through bridge 60 Byerworth bridge then the canal sweeps to the right and to our left the vista opens up, we can see the monument to greed that is the Garstang Dewlay wind turbine and the Garstang golf course. Then the canal straightens and we have popular moorings on our left for about four hundred yards before bridge 62 Garstang bridge. Passing the first half of the moorings we cross bridge 61 the Wyre Aqueduct built in 1797 carrying the canal over the river Wyre. To our left on the bank of the river Wyre is the fourteenth green of Garstang Golf course. The moorings to our left are very popular. The river Wyre is the boundary for Garstang , we are now in Garstang proper.
To our right we now pass the Garstang Basin, which can be a boat turning point, and The Old Tythe Barn pub restaurant before reaching bridge 62.
Boaters mooring here and walking to town, this is the nearest to the town centre being only a few hundred yards away, should walk under bridge 62 then go left up onto bridge 62A which is a foot path bridge alongside the original canal bridge, this way pedestrians stay on the footpath avoiding crossing the road.
Imediately north of bridge 62 is a turning point and moorings continue on the left bank up to and beyond bridge 63 Moss Lane. We are now cruising through the residential area of Garstang. North of bridge 63 the canal turns left and there is good mooring all the way to bridge 63B the A6. Before bridge 63B is a white bridge carrying the water pipes for the area over the canal 63A. Also we enter Nateby somewhere before bridge 63, not ion Garstang for very long were we?
North of bridge 63B the towpath becomes the usual un metalled path. Onward through bridge 64 the canal bears right and on our right is Bridge House Marina, many boats moored on the east bank here the towpath bank being a popular mooring for cruising boats to overnight. The view to our left has opened up again, very pleasant cruising here.
Near to bridge 64, about a hundred yards, is the sandwich shop and the Bellflower pub, formerly the Flag. This is a child friendly pub, two for one meals. To reach them turn right, away from the canal, when walking to the road from the footpath. The sandwich shop is on you right at the crossroads and the Bellflower across the road to your left.
Cruising past the Bridge House marina the canal turns to the right, to your left is some brickwork that is the remains of the old bridge for the Garstang to Knott End railway line that crossed the Lancaster Canal at this point. A few yards further north is the entrance to Garstang marina on our right.
We are now cruising the Lancaster Canal in open country a left bend then the canal turns right and the view to the left is excellent, Blackpool tower is visible on a clear day, not a bad place to moor up overnight. A little further and we pass under bridge 65 Nateby Hall heading north away from Garstang.
I trust you enjoyed your Garstang visit, come back and see us again soon.