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Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link

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Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link
Author: Lancashire Walks, Published: 10 Aug 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guidestar0 Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guidestar0 Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guidestar0 Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guidestar0 Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guide
Lancashire, Preston
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guide boot Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guide
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0002_sunny_intervals Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking GuideToday's weather
12 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 22 mph W
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A 4 mile circular walk from the outskirts of Preston in Lancashire. The walking route follows a stretch of the Ribble Link, Britain’s newest inland waterway, before crossing a golf course and open field to join the Lancaster Canal towpath for the return leg. There is plenty of interest along the way, including wildlife, boat-life, artwork sculptures and even a chance of catching a professional football training session.

The terrain is relatively easy, following mostly hard-surfaced paths, including a canal towpath, with just one section across an open field which can be muddy. There are a couple of road crossings that need care, plus a half-mile stretch of road walking along a country lane. You will need to negotiate footbridges, steps and gates plus a couple of stiles (with tight fence surrounds, so dogs will need a lift over). Whilst most of the route is away from farmland, you will cross one field that may be holding livestock. The route also crosses a golf course so watch out for any stray flying golf balls on this short stretch. There is a cafe within the sports complex at the start (and end) of the walk. Allow 2 hours.

The walk starts and finishes at the UCLan Sports Arena car park, the university sports complex which includes an athletics track, pitches and a gym open for community use. The arena car park is located about 2 miles north-west of the centre of Preston and is accessed via the B6241 Tom Benson Way. Approximate post code PR2 1SG.

Walk Sections

Start to Tom Benson Way
Start to Tom Benson Way

Start point: 53.7771 lat, -2.7558 long
End point: 53.7754 lat, -2.7492 long

The walk begins from the UCLan Sports Arena car park. The 64-acre arena provides sporting facilities for university students (University of Central Lancashire) and the local Preston community, including facilities for athletics, rugby league, rugby union, football, hockey, netball, tennis, cycling, cricket and fitness training.

Leave the Sports Arena by the access road to reach the roundabout with Tom Benson Way (B6241).

Tom Benson Way to Holding Basin
Tom Benson Way to Holding Basin

Start point: 53.7754 lat, -2.7492 long
End point: 53.7748 lat, -2.7471 long

Taking care of traffic, cross over Tom Benson Way to reach the metal gate at the far side of the roundabout. Pass through the gate and follow the path leading you towards the Lancaster Canal. The path leads you past the canal holding basin and the three-rise lock staircase (Locks 1,2, 3), both on your left.

The locks provide access from the Lancaster Canal to the Millennium Ribble Link, a waterway that was opened in July 2002. When the Lancaster Canal was constructed at the close of the 1700s, it was proposed that it would be connected with the rest of the waterway system via an aqueduct over the River Ribble. However, the cost proved prohibitive so a tramway was built from Walton Summit taking goods across the Old Tram Bridge to the canal basin in Preston. When the tramway fell into disuse, the Lancaster Canal became completely isolated from the rest of the waterway system. After many decades of campaigning and fundraising, the new Ribble Link was finally created in 2002, allowing craft to connect to the navigable River Douglas and access the Rufford Branch of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. We will be following the Ribble Link for the next stretch of our walk.

Holding Basin to Rail Underpass
Holding Basin to Rail Underpass

Start point: 53.7748 lat, -2.7471 long
End point: 53.7739 lat, -2.7461 long

Beyond the three locks, cross Savick Brook via the footbridge and go along the tarmac path to cross Tom Benson Way at the pelican crossing. At the far side, take the path leading you under the Blackpool line railway bridge.

Rail Underpass to Savick Way
Rail Underpass to Savick Way

Start point: 53.7739 lat, -2.7461 long
End point: 53.7724 lat, -2.7537 long

Follow the path alongside the brook and Ribble Link (on your right), along what has been promoted as an Arts Sculpture Trail and Wildlife Corridor. The hay meadow between Lock 4 and Lock 5 has been identified as having national, county and local significance, being a haven for wildflowers and insects. After passing Lock 4 you will reach Savick Way.

Savick Way to Church
Savick Way to Church

Start point: 53.7724 lat, -2.7537 long
End point: 53.7712 lat, -2.761 long

Cross over Savick Way and keep ahead to join the Guild Wheel cycle path that runs alongside the brook and Ribble Link, passing Lock 5. At the end of this stretch the path swings left and you will emerge alongside the modern building of St Peter and Paul’s Church.

Church to Tudor Avenue
Church to Tudor Avenue

Start point: 53.7712 lat, -2.761 long
End point: 53.77 lat, -2.7682 long

Turn right, passing the church on your right, to reach a T-junction with Lea Road. Cross over the far pavement, turn right along this and then turn left immediately before Leylands Bridge to continue on the cycle track. Continue on the cycle path alongside the brook, past Lock 6, to reach Tudor Avenue.

Tudor Avenue to Footbridge
Tudor Avenue to Footbridge

Start point: 53.77 lat, -2.7682 long
End point: 53.7687 lat, -2.7757 long

Go ahead to cross Tudor Avenue (near the road bridge that leads to Ashton and Lea golf club). Follow the cycle path alongside the brook and pass Springfield Sports Ground on your left. This is where Preston North End football team trains on most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the playing season. Shortly after the sports ground buildings and before Lock 7, you will reach a footbridge over the brook on your right.

Footbridge to Darkinson Lane
Footbridge to Darkinson Lane

Start point: 53.7687 lat, -2.7757 long
End point: 53.7731 lat, -2.781 long

Turn right over this footbridge to cross the brook (shown on OS maps in 1840 as Wads Bridge) and join the ancient right of way across Ashton and Lea golf course. Remember to allow golfers to play their shots before you cross and watch out for any stray flying golf balls. Follow the waymarks for 300 yards over the golf course and down to the footbridge which leads you over the drainage channel. Cross a stile and go ahead for 350 yards across an open field then take the next stile to reach Darkinson Lane.

Darkinson Lane to Lancaster Canal
Darkinson Lane to Lancaster Canal

Start point: 53.7731 lat, -2.781 long
End point: 53.7785 lat, -2.7745 long

Taking care of traffic, turn right along Darkinson Lane. Follow the lane as it swings left over the Blackpool line railway bridge and continues ahead to meet the Lancaster Canal at Quaker's Bridge (Number 19).

Lancaster Canal to End
Lancaster Canal to End

Start point: 53.7785 lat, -2.7745 long
End point: 53.7775 lat, -2.7558 long

Drop down to the towpath and turn right (east) alongside the Lancaster Canal. Pass under Malt Kiln Bridge (Number 18) on Lea Road and continue ahead to return to UCLan Sports Arena just before Cottam Hall Bridge (Number 17).

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author lancashirewalks and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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1 gallery images for "Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link"

11340_0lancashirewalks1533926819 Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link Walking Guide Image by: Lancashire Walks
Uploaded: 10 Aug 2018
Dogs may need a lift over the stiles...

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