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Lancaster Canal

Lancaster Canal is one of the most beautiful waterways in Britain. It winds through Lancaster to the south and east of the centre, passing several pleasant canalside pubs and restaurants as it goes.

Follow the towpath north and you will soon come to the famous Lune Aqueduct, undoubtedly one of the seven wonders of Lancaster.



Here, if you’re on board a boat on the Lancaster Canal, you sail high over the River Lune, almost touching the sky and in perfect position to enjoy superb and varied vistas.



There are views south over the city and northeast across verdant farmland to (on a clear day) Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, two of the famous Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Caton Moor with its wind farm is also in sight, and Clougha Pike, Lancaster’s local mountain, can be glimpsed to the southeast.

Follow the towpath south from the city centre and within minutes you are in beautiful peaceful countryside. It’s a lovely walk, with flat easy going and popular with local joggers in fair weather.

If you’re a strong walker you can make a day of it, following the canal to Galgate (6 miles), where you can get lunch and a bus back (number 40 / 41 / 42). Or if you’re up to it you can take the right canal fork on to Glasson Dock, returning by bus (89) or by the shorter estuary path that follows the high-tide line of the River Lune. But even the shortest of strolls takes you almost immediately into another world of overarching trees and peaceful water.

The canal teems with wildlife, to say nothing of livestock that come down to the water’s edge to drink and paddle.



Lancaster children save their scraps for the ducklings and cygnets who are very tame and come in their dozens at the sight of a free meal!



Walking and Cycling by the Lancaster Canal


The canal towpath through the city is now a popular cycle route. Going south out of Lancaster toward Galgate and Glasson the going can get heavier once the surfaced section ends and you are on grass — or mud (this softer going is more attractive to joggers and runners). Once you reach Glasson there is an excellent cycletrack back to town along the Lune estuary shoreline, with a handy riverside café, The Clair d’Lune, at Conder Green, next door to the Stork Pub.

Northbound from Lancaster makes a superb ride — over the aqueduct past Beaumont and out to the sea at Hest Bank, passing narrowboat moorings and on beyond to Carnforth. Or you can turn off onto the Lune cyclepath at the aqueduct for Halton, Crook O’Lune and Caton.

Another wonderful cycle ride links the Lancaster–Morecambe Millennium cycle path, the Morecambe Coastal cyclepath to Hest Bank and the canal towpath from Hest Bank to Lancaster (either way round). It’s about 11 flat, scenic miles in a circular route. An absolute gift.


Other Canal Features


There are, in effect, no locks on the main line of the Lancaster Canal. The seven at Tewitfield (about 9 miles north of Lancaster) have had their gates removed and now serve only as weirs. In any case, this section of the canal is not in use for boats above the size of a canoe.



Disused lock on the Lancaster Canal near Tewitfield
Disused lock on the Lancaster Canal near Tewitfield


The only functioning locks on the Lancaster Canal are the six (seven counting the one between the marina and the dock) on the Glasson branch between Galgate (4 miles south of Lancaster on the A6) and Glasson (near the A588 and 2 miles from the mouth of the Lune).



Lock no. 1 on the Glasson Branch
Lock no. 1 on the Glasson Branch


Canal Links

See Lancaster Canal Trust for information on boat dimensions, cruises, restoration, working parties, club activities, and take a virtual tour along the canal. Lancaster Canal trust hold work parties every second Sunday in the Month. To volunteer or for more info, visit or email

Lancaster Canal Packet Boats Waterbus Service & Canal Cruises

Please contact us for timetables and further information, or to request a leaflet.

For further historical and descriptive information, visit Wikipedia’s Lancaster Canal page.