The Lancaster Canal is well known for being a forty one mile long lock free canal which was, up to the year 2002, isolated from the rest of England’s canal network.
At its longest length the Lancaster canal ran from Preston to Kendal but in the 1960s the Lancaster canal was culverted in places by the construction of the M6 motorway however ambitious plans are in place to restore the canal to its full length
Today the Lancaster Canal runs from Preston at its southernmost point on a northerly course through Garstang, Lancaster and on through Carnforth to Tewitfield where navigation on the Lancaster canal ends at the embankment for the A6070 road.
North of the road the Lancaster canal continues in water for a further few miles to Stainton where the water ends abruptly. The northern reaches as this section of the canal is known can be cruised on board the Waterwitch a boat run by the Lancaster Canal Trust who run regular trips on selected days in t he summer. The Waterwich cruises from Crooklands on the A65 road near Kendal in Cumbria just off junction 36 of the M6 check the Lancaster Canal Trust website for dates.
At Tewitfield the Lancaster canal rises alongside the M6 through disused locks which are now waterfalls on the Lancaster canal. The walk from Tewitfield to Kendal along the canal is a a 15 mile walk.
Canal narrowboats are available for hire on the Lancaster Canal for a relaxing holiday experience, canal cruises are also on offer at locations along the Lancaster Canal and day boats are for hire at several locations. There is also a water-bus running in the summer which revives one of the most successful operations on the Lancaster canal when horse towed passenger boats ran from Kendal to Preston although the modern day water-bus route is somewhat shorter.
The Lancaster Canal also has a sea port accessible through the Glasson Branch a two and a half mile link from Galgate down through six sets of locks to Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary, Glasson Dock still a working port today and Glasson marina on the large canal basin are well worth a visit
The Lancaster canal passes through stunning scenery, the pasture lands north of Preston, the Bowland hills around Garstang the Lune Aqueduct at Lancaster, Morecambe Bay at Hest Bank and historic architecture along the whole route.
In 2002 the Ribble Link was constructed when Savics Brook was engineered to provide a connection from the Lancaster Canal to the River Ribble from where boats can access the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool canal at Tarleton and then on through the rest of England’s beautiful canal network.
Canals were originally built in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Lancaster Canal opened in 1797, to haul heavy goods around the emerging factories of the Industrial revolution falling into decline with the advent of Railways only to re emerge as a recreational facility in the 20th and 21st centuries, today there are people who choose to live aboard canal narrowboats, enjoying the freedom to roam this lifestyle offers and with cruising becoming more and more popular there have never been as many boats on the canals as there are today, with plans around for restorations and new canals the future is bright indeed, the age of the canal has come.