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Lancaster Canal - Northern Reaches

Lancaster Canal - Northern Reaches

The Lancaster Canal Trust’s primary objective is to campaign for the restoration of the canal from Tewitfield to Kendal. In order to demonstrate that there are the will and support for this, the trust’s volunteers have been working on restoring the First Furlong (200m) between bridges 172 and 173 at Stainton, Cumbria. This length has been dug out and lined with geotextile and an EDPM impermeable membrane, with blocks laid on top to hold the lining down and protect it. Above the blocks, the profile has been filled with soil and allowed to regenerate naturally. A hedgerow has been planted along the off-bank and there is already a wide selection of plant species appearing along both banks.

The final task to complete the new 1-furlong (220 yards) link will be to remove the bund under Bridge 172 to connect to the rest of the system. This is a major job involving the use of a temporary dam and sensitive excavation and means repositioning a waterpipe into a deep culvert beneath the bed of the canal. 

The next step: the trust is starting to plan the long process to restore the next 400m and has enlisted the help of one of WRG’s work camps in clearing the bed of vegetation down to the original clay. Unlike the First Furlong, this section was left ‘derelict’ when the canal was dewatered in the 1960s and abandoned to nature. The rough profile of the canal is still visible. The trust had commissioned a thorough ecological study of the section. Restoration work will be planned to minimise ‘damage’ to the existing growth and, in the medium/longer term, increase biodiversity creating a green-blue corridor. It is also planning a strategy to maximise the opportunities to secure the funding in stages that will be required to make the restoration of the Northern Reaches to Kendal a reality. At Hincaster Tunnel, LCT has an adoption agreement with CRT and is maintaining the site of this Scheduled Ancient Monument and improving public access by keeping open the viewing areas with a regular programme of strimming and vegetation maintenance. Also of note is that the trust is an active member of the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership which, together with CRT, has successfully bid c£1m funding to upgrade some 5k of the towpath between Field End Bridge 169 and Holme to a multiuse grade route. This follows the upgrade funded by Sports England of the towpath from Well Head Lane to Stainton two years ago. Follow the trust’s progress at lctrust.co.uk.

April 2024

Bridge near Natland.


Navigation Authority

Canal & River Trust - North West


Lancaster Canal Trust