3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lancashire Walks Glasson Dock to Galgate

PUBLISHED: 08:33 24 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:15 20 February 2013

Lancashire Walks Glasson Dock to Galgate

Lancashire Walks Glasson Dock to Galgate

There may not be much there but that makes Glasson Dock the perfect spot for a summer stroll, writes Keith Carter

Glasson Dock might never have come into being had it not been for the silting up of the River Lune, making access for shipping to Lancaster more and more difficult. Ships from the West Indies and the Americas regularly docked at Lancaster Quay bringing cargoes of sugar, spices, rum and slaves, so the Port Commissioners obtained permission for a new port to be built in 1787.

Lancaster was trying to keep pace with Liverpool in its maritime development and was desperate to keep the trade flowing. One side-effect of this was the growth of Waring and Gillow who used the mahogany timber from ships dunnage to make furniture, growing into a business that became world famous.

It is not hard to imagine a forest of masts crowding the dock at Glasson in its heyday. My earliest recollection is of piles of coal during the 1974 miners strike when tiny ports around the coast were used to bring coal in to try to head off the pickets. I recall transit vans full of police waiting in the lay-bys round Cockerham, expecting trouble which actually never came.

On the map the name Glasson Dock does not appear, only Glasson although everyone refers to it as Glasson Dock. Its a nice place for a trip out with the family and is usually crowded on summer weekends. Bikers congregate there too, swarming round the snack caravan in their hundreds. The old tub rotting in the marina used to be a favourite place for a cuppa, the Ba-Ba-Gee, a name that will have resonance for many people.

Actually theres not much to do in Glasson Dock except wander about in the usual British way, watching what limited action there is and waiting for something to happen. But as a place for a walk its ideal. The line of the old railway has been transformed into part of the Lancashire Coastal Way and offers easy, level walking suitable for all ages and abilities including wheelchair users. If you choose to you can walk all the way to Caton, a distance of about eight miles. Cyclists love this trail. Anywhere that is traffic and pothole-free is a welcome these days.

This area is a haven for birdwatchers too and on the day I researched this walk there was a long-lens enthusiast on the bridge over the Conder scanning the shoreline for wheatears and ring-plovers.

Seen anything interesting?

Everythings interesting, he replied, slightly tetchily. I saw his point. Even the lowliest gull is interesting to the dedicated birdwatcher.

Our walk starts at the large car park in Glasson next to the marina. If the booth is not manned you are trusted to put a pound through a slot in the door. Cross the road and go between the toilet block and the bowling green to meet the shore path. To our left is the Lune Estuary and in the distance you can make out the Lakeland hills to the north and the Bowland Fells to the north east.

After crossing the Conder by an iron bridge we leave the coastal path and turn right just opposite a great little teashop, the Caf dLune, its errant apostrophe likely to cause Lynne Trusss eyebrow to rise if she were to see it. Never mind the spelling, the coffee is excellent and the toasted teacakes a triumph.

Follow the access road to meet the Lancaster road beside the Stork Inn, a fine hostelry now run by a South African couple where the ales are real and the menu choices unusual. Cross the road to a gap to the right of the telephone kiosk and go right on the side road for a few hundred yards to a brick sub-station next to which is a footpath sign and a stile. Climb this into a field and keep along a right-hand hedge line through two fields to a stile in the bottom corner. Cross this and the stone-slab bridge across a beck then another squeeze stile keeping left, then on rising ground going forward with the hedge now on the left.

As you crest a brow a farm is seen ahead, Parkside Farm, nicely kept, where a stile and gate admit us to the farmyard which we go through between farm buildings. A rough track is our path, the hedge now on our right and when we come to a gateway, go through it and carry on beside the left-hand hedge, maintaining the same direction. The way marking is non-existent and it is the stiles that give evidence of a right-of-way.

We descend into a dip and pass under power-lines before meeting the next stile in the corner of the field.

This stile takes us into a narrow band of uncultivated land with a metal ladder-stile taking us out of it to enter a field where we need to keep to the right of a large fallen ash tree. Head slightly right to the top of a brow where ahead a line of trees comes into view. This is Forerigg Wood. Look for a stile which enters this wood. Once across it, descend on a narrow path through the trees and leave the wood by a further stile, turning right along a fence line. Where the fence ends, keep ahead through grazing land to meet the Lancaster Canal.

Turn right on the towpath and before long we come to Galgate Marina where colourful narrow boats were being made ready for the season. Shortly after leaving the marina we meet the junction of the canal with the Glasson branch, built to bring goods unloaded at Glasson Dock to Preston and Lancaster. You dont see much traffic on this two-mile stretch now since it is a dead-end and has five locks to negotiate.

After lock number five a building appears to the right and this is the Mill Inn, a converted flour mill that is now a very nice pub. We continue on the towpath and arrive at the marina, a favourite haunt of the great crested grebe, a bird that performs an unusual mating ritual, male and female craning their necks in unison, their russet-coloured ruffs fully distended, a fascinating display to watch. We follow the path round the end of the marina to arrive back at the car.


More from Out & About

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A striking sculpture attracts John Lenehan to this circular walk through some oustanding scenery.

Read more
Friday, September 7, 2018

This varied selection of walks are all within ten miles of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty.

Read more
Arnside Silverdale
Monday, September 10, 2018

Making a television programme about the Lakes has re-affirmed Paul Rose’s deep affection for the area

Read more
Lake District
Friday, September 7, 2018

A succesful application could see the restoration of the Japanese Gardens and the creation of a water sports centre.

Read more

Is it a village? Is it a town? Who cares when the locals take such a pride in making this such a lovely place to visit

Read more
Thursday, August 30, 2018

A new survey method could unlock the secrets of the bog bush cricket in Lancashire following their discovery on Little Woolden Moss, Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Ellie Sherlock joins the search.

Read more
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Heritage venues across the region – many of them not normally open to the public – will welcome visitors this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It’s officially England’s favourite flower and if you want to see some beautiful examples, follow Linda Viney to Mawdesley

Read more
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A circular walk which skirts the Lune estuary and takes in the Lancaster Canal and the railway line.

Read more

Behind the ancient sandstone facade of Browsholme Hall is a remarkable ethos of 21st century sustainability and care for the environment.

Read more
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Keswick really is a gem of a town – just ask anyone from jeweller Brian Fulton to mountaineering legend Sir Chris Bonington

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

From cyclists to star-gazers, Bowland is attracting more visitors. It’s Hetty Byrne’s job to ensure they have fun without harming the environment

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search