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Waterways of Lancashire

Navigable Rivers and Canals within Lancashire

Glasson Basin Lock on the Lancaster Canal - Glasson Dock Branch.

Bury & Sladen Canal project

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

A proposed Lancashire canal.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a canal from Bury to join the Rochdale Canal at Sladen, near Littleborough. This was later extended to run to Sowerby Bridge.

History:

Surveyed in 1792 but never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Douglas Navigation

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

A navigation from Lancashire to Greater Manchester.

Waterway Description:

Was a 17.5 mile river navigation with 13 locks from the Ribble up to Wigan.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1720 but not opened until around 1742. All of the traffic was lost to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal by 1801.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Haslingden Canal

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

A proposal for a canal from Greater Manchester to Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

A proposed tub-boat canal with inclined planes but never built

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1794 to join the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, at Bury, to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, at Church near Accrington.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Lancaster - Morecambe Ship Canal project

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

This proposed canal was to be entirely within Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a 3½ mile ship canal from Poulton Ring (Morecambe) across the peninsula to the Lune where a dam across the river would hold back the water to maintain deep moorings at Lancaster Quays.

History:

It started as one of three rival schemes for improving transport to Lancaster. In 1845 the Morecambe Bay Harbour Company was floated with a capital of 300,000 to make a harbour and ship canal to Lancaster. The idea did not last long as when the formal company prospectus was issued in November the ship canal had been replaced by a railway.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Lancaster Canal

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The whole of the present 42 miles of navigable canal, from Preston to Tewitfield, are in Lancashire. Beyond Tewitfield the original canal once ran a further 14 miles into Cumbria.

Waterway Description:

This 42 mile canal runs from Tewitfield to Preston and was from its openning detached from the main canal system although it had a connecting tram-way link from 1803 until 1860s. The opening of the Ribble Link in 2002 finally gave it a waterway connection to the main system.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1792, 1793, 1796, 1800, 1807 and 1819. Two miles of canal have been closed at Preston and the waterway above Tewitfield was closed by the Transport Act of 1955.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Lancaster Canal - Glasson Dock Branch

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The whole canal branch is within Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

History:

Authorised by an Act of May 1793, work did not start until 1823 and the branch was opened in June 1826.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Leeds & Liverpool - Rufford Branch

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The whole of this branch is in Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

Also called the Lower Douglas Navigation, this 11 mile canal runs from Burscough Bridge, where it joins the Leeds and Liverpool Canal main line to the River Ribble Estuary.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

From a point between South Field Bridge No 159 and Greenberfield Changeline Bridge No 158, where the canal crosses from Yorkshire to just past Red House Bridge No 68 near Adlington, where it enters Greater Manchester, the canal runs for 47 miles through Lancashire.

From just before Appley Bridge No 42, where the canal leaves Greater Manchester, for 29 miles to its terminus in Liverpool the canal runs through Lacashire and Merseyside.

Waterway Description:

A 127 mile, cross-Pennine route, from Leeds River Lock, where it joins the Aire and Calder Navigation, to Liverpool.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1720, 1770, 1783, 1790, 1794 and 1819. Over fifty miles of waterway open by early 1774. The Bingley Five Rise Locks were opened on the 21st March 1774. Five laden boats descended the locks watched by thousands of people. Burnley Embankment (designed by Robert Whitworth, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Company Engineer) started in 1795. Gannow tunnel was completed in early 1801. The whole canal was fully opened in 1816.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Liverpool Canal project

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

Proposals for an alternative canal route from Manchester into Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

Various routes were proposed for a canal from Manchester to Liverpool as an alternative for the Leeds & Liverpool route but none were authorised or built.

History:

In 1765 it was first suggested that the Bridgewater Canal could be extended to Liverpool. A route was published in 1771 and an unsuccessful Bill was introduced in 1772. Revived again in 1792 and 1825.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Preston Ship Canal Schemes

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

Proposals for a ship canal in Lacashire.

Waterway Description:

Proposals for a ship canal on the bank of the Ribble estuary. Never authorised or built.

History:

Proposed in 1834 as a ship canal on the north bank and again in 1888 as a ship canal on the south bank.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Ribble Link

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The whole canal is within Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

A new canal, nearly 3 miles long, which will link the Lancaster Canal to the rest of the connected waterways system by way of the River Ribble estuary. Opened in summer 2002.

History:

The Lancaster Canal was planned to link with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal when it was promoted about 200 years ago. However the links were never completed and the Lancaster Canal remained a detached waterway. The Ribble Link Trust was set up a number of years ago to provide this missing link and now, in partnership with the Waterways Trust and Lancashire County Council, it has raised the funds and started work. The Millennium Commission have provided 2.7M towards the scheme.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Mersey

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The river forms the boundary between Lanchasire and Cheshire.

Waterway Description:

This tidal navigation runs 43 miles from Bank Quay, Warrington, to the Mersey Bar Light Vessel.

History:

Act of Parliament of 1805 enabled the collection of tolls.

Points of Interest:

The river below Garston is only suitable for sea-going vessels.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Ribble

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The whole river is within Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

Tidal river giving access to the port of Preston (Lancs) and having the River Douglas as a tributary, thus giving access to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Rufford Branch.

History:

An act for Improving the navigation of the river was passed in 1806.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Sankey Brook Navigation

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

An abandoned Lancashire canal.

Waterway Description:

Was an 8 mile, 10 lock, broad canal with a further 8 miles 6 furlongs and 4 locks in its branches. The main line ran from Sankey Bridges to the Old Double Lock after which a number of branches served the collieries.

History:

Authorised by Acts of 1755, 1762 and 1830, opened in 1757 and the branch from Sankey Bridges to Widnes in 1833. Abandoned in 1963.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Ulverston Canal

Waterway's place in Lancashire :

The whole canal was in Lancashire.

Waterway Description:

Was a 1.5 mile ship canal with an entrance lock from Ulverston, Lancashire, to the coast.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793, opened in 1796, abandoned in 1945.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to Lancashire Waterways

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List