<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lancaster’s Lune Aqueduct undergoes £2.3million facelift

PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 September 2013 | UPDATED: 23:30 23 October 2015

Workers on the project needed a head for heights

Workers on the project needed a head for heights

Not Archant

Sue Riley charts the restoration of one of Lancashire’s long neglected landmarks

Local people who were consulted about the restoration Local people who were consulted about the restoration

One of Lancashire’s most statuesque structures has been given a £2.3million facelift to bring it into the 21st Century. Work on the leaking Lancaster Aqueduct has just been completed following a three year project which has seen the structure drained – they quite literally had to pull the plug – leaks repaired, new concrete liners installed, graffiti removed, towpaths improved and some of the missing and cracked masonry replaced.

In recent years the Grade I listed aqueduct, once painted by luminaries including JMW Turner, has sprung leaks and started to show its age. Now the Canal & River Trust hope the refurbishment will bring the aqueduct back to national prominence.

Youngsters from Ridge Community Primary School at the officially opening Youngsters from Ridge Community Primary School at the officially opening

‘We wanted to raise the profile of the canal, it’s hidden away where it is - we think it’s just as important as the Lancaster Castle or the Ashton Memorial,’ said Trust Enterprise Manager Stephen Higham. ‘The project has been transformative really. We have taken a heritage site and improved it drastically. We have turned it into an added tourist attraction for Lancaster.

‘It was not meeting its potential, when you see pictures of the aqueduct from the 1900s we have all five arches on show, the aqueduct was dominating the landscape. Two years ago you could only see a couple of the arches,’ he said. The restoration has already won a major National Waterways Renaissance Award.

The aqueduct carries Lancaster Canal over the River Lune and the navigable waterway is one of the most popular in England - particularly since the Ribble Link opened 10 years ago providing access to the national network of canals. When the aqueduct was built in 1797 it cost £30,000 more than expected (the regal sum of £48,321) leaving no cash for a Ribble Aqueduct so the canal was effectively left isolated although it attracted people from all over the country keen to see John Rennie’s classical design and state-of-the-art building techniques.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery, the Canal & River Trust and Lancashire County and Lancaster City Councils, the restoration project started with a six-month consultation with more than 2,000 people.

Residents particularly wanted a new access ramp for walkers and cyclists from the River Lune up to the canal and a car park. What they didn’t want were picnic areas or for the aqueduct to be floodlit – two of the original ideas. Youngsters asked for things like water slides and diving boards!

The team decided to preserve and improve on the area’s natural beauty by creating a mini nature reserve (about the size of a football pitch) on an area of wasteland once used as a dredging site at the base of the aqueduct. The reserve can be found via the picturesque riverside walk and also from a new car park on Caton Road. Students at Myerscough College cut back more than 200 trees to make the aqueduct more visible and the nature area, which will be completed this summer, features a number of ponds, dipping platforms, outdoor classroom and sculptures with meadow, grassland and sensory planting.

‘We are happy we have struck a nice balance,’ said Stephen, who has been involved with the project since the beginning and was responsible for writing the lottery funding bid.

Lune Aqueduct Project Officer David Hennessey added: ‘We wanted a heavy focus on community engagement, with schools and older people’

During the past three years more than 1,500 people have been involved in events, workshops and discussions about the project. They are now hoping to create a self sufficient group, the Friends of the Lune Aqueduct, to ensure its future success. In the meantime they are training four Explorers, adult volunteers who will lead classroom walks around the aqueduct talking about the history, heritage and natural flora and fauna.

This essential piece of Lancashire’s transport history may have been brought bang up to date but essentially the aqueduct remains as impressive as it was when it first opened; a classical design as stylish now as it was then.

Water way to celebrate

Wildlife expert Russ Hedley will be holding a range of nature walks along the canal. North Lancashire Bat Group will also be leading walks. There will be free canoe and kayaking sessions during the summer. Details will be uploaded on 

This month, to coincide with Heritage Open Days, there will be free trips up the waterway on a canal barge

Between 7pm and 9pm on October 29th and 30th The Dukes theatre will hold the finale of its Wild Wonders of the Waterways mini festival at the aqueduct, based around the wildlife and environment in and around the canal. The theatre was responsible for last year’s popular Phoenix from the Ashes sound and light show.


More from Out & About

A couple in Euxton have managed to create a beautiful garden packed with plants and a sense of humour

Read more
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The pretty village of Barley sits in the shadow of Pendle Hill but John Lenehan chooses a gentler route.

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks Pendle Hill
Monday, March 12, 2018

Business mixes easily with pleasure in the busy market town of Clitheroe, as Mairead Mahon and Kirsty Thompson discovered.

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lake Windermere is over 10 miles long and is surrounded by a several beautiful fells, we pick some of our favourite walks that are ideal for anyone visiting the area.

Read more
Windermere Lake District Walks
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

If you ever wondered what happens to the cash supermarkets charge for carriers, then pop along to Lytham Hall. Linda Viney reports

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Martin Pilkington reports on a Lancashire town that has confounded the pessimists.

Read more
Monday, March 5, 2018

It’s another fine town in old Lancashire but its connection with the world’s most famous comedy duo make it special. Mike Glover reports.

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

There has been some amazing work cataloguing wildlife in our region thanks to The Biodiverse Society. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright looks at its legacy

Read more
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

There are many forces of nature to witness in the Lake District, we pick six of our favourite waterfalls.

Read more
Lake District
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search