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Lancashire walk - Glasson Dock circular

PUBLISHED: 10:24 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:24 21 August 2018

The spot where the canal enters Glasson Dock

The spot where the canal enters Glasson Dock

john Lenehan

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

Hikers on the towpathHikers on the towpath

It is hard to believe that the pretty Glasson Dock with its upper basin filled with pleasure boats and canal barges was once a really busy port. So busy, in fact, that a railway was built from Lancaster and a canal link to the Lancaster Canal at Galgate to provide arteries for the import and export of goods.

I decided to see if I could design a circular walk that would take in both the canal and the railway line, which skirts the Lune estuary.

It is now disused and but its route is a popular cycling and walking track. The result was a long but extremely easy walk – probably the easiest I have had to write up.

A couple heading back to their boat after a shopping expeditionA couple heading back to their boat after a shopping expedition


1. Leave the car park and cross the road and take the path to the right of the public toilets passing a bowling green on the right. Turn right and with the seawall on the left set off along what was once the railway.

Cross a viaduct and basically just keep going following the old railway. Pass the Café d’Lune and carry on going through the car park. Do not be tempted to go through the stile on the left. Once through the carpark keep following the old railway.

Note: Glasson Dock came to be built because the silting of the River Lune began to make shipping to the quays of Lancaster difficult. It soon became very busy and could hold up to 25 ships. Even today, it is still busy but mainly with pleasure boats and the marina basin can hold up to 220 boats. The railway link was completed in 1883 and closed in 1964.

The canal has plenty of wildlifeThe canal has plenty of wildlife

2. Eventually, a green sign post appears on the left pointing right saying: Public Footpath Aldcliffe Hall Lane. Cross the stile on the right and cross the small field to another stile straight ahead. Cross this stile and turn immediately left and follow the hedgerow on the left and go through a gap straight ahead. Once through the gap keep going straight on following the hedgerow on the left, passing a steel gate then on the left there is a metal gate stile. Cross the stile and turn immediately right and follow the footpath. Pass between two metal gates and cross the stile ahead the path passes behind some houses to a gate stile, cross this and keep straight on. The path bends left then right and passes behind a wooden fence to a metal gate stile that leads out into a road into the village of Aldcliffe. Once through the gate stile keep straight on up the road ahead through the small housing estate and eventually the road gives way to become a wide tarmac track. Follow this downhill to reach the main road.

3. Cross the main road to the canal then turn right and join the canal towpath and follow this with the canal on the left.

A warm welcome at the Cafe d'LuneA warm welcome at the Cafe d'Lune

Note: The Lancaster Canal was built by John Rennie. It was started in 1794 and completed in 1826. Originally it went from Preston to Kendal but the building of the M6 separated the southern section from the northern section just north of Tewitfield.

The northern section is now unused and mainly filled in. There was an attempt made to link the Preston end of to the Leeds Liverpool canal at Johnsons Hillock at Wheelton near Chorley, but lack of funds meant a tramway was constructed instead to carry goods between the two canals. It is now possible to link the two canals by water as in 2002 a short section called the Ribble Link opened – the first canal built in nearly 100 years. It links the Lancaster Canal through a series of locks to the River Ribble and at high tide boats can cross the Ribble to the River Douglas and follow this to a lock at Tarleton and join the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Follow the towpath to Galgate passing by the busy marina. (There is the lovely canalside craft centre just by the marina so the opportunity is open for a nice coffee and cake to be taken. They sell fantastic ice cream.) Keep on the towpath until it crosses a bridge over the canal link to Glasson.

4. Do not cross the bridge, turn right just before it and follow the Glasson link canal towpath passing six locks in total to reach the Marina Basin at Glasson Dock.

Compass Points

Walk: Glasson Dock Railway and Canal Walk

Start/finish: Main car park on left by the Marina basin as you enter village

Distance: 10.5 Miles/16.9Km

Terrain: Very easy walking with hardly any uphill sections. Light walking shoes will be fine

Parking: By the Marina - pay £1 and display when it’s working

Facilities: Public Toilets by the car park

Map: OS Explorer 296 Lancaster, Morecambe and Fleetwood

Watering Holes

Café d’Lune, Lantern O’er Lune, The Stork & The Dalton Arms all offer excellent refreshments. We stopped at the Café d’Lune and found to food to be top notch – a bacon bap and excellent coffee served by two really friendly ladies.

Lancashire walk - Glasson Dock and Cockersands Abbey

Lancashire Walk - Glasson Dock to Galgate

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