Ribble Link

Opened in 2002, the Ribble Link connects the once-isolated Lancaster Canal to the rest of the national waterway network.

Ribble Link, courtesy Ian Taylor Ribble Link, courtesy Ian Taylor
Ribble Link  
Length 4 miles
Locks 9
Maximum boat dimenions
Guide only - weather conditions can affect water levels
  • Length
  • Width
  • Draught
  • Height
  • 62 ft/18.8m
  • 10ft 6in/3.2m
  • 2ft 3in/0.7m
  • 8ft/2.5m
  Restrictions from Rufford Branch and tides apply - see full dimensions

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The Link runs around the outskirts of Preston and flows into the River Ribble, which itself connects with the Leeds & Liverpool Canal's Rufford Branch. The Ribble Link is tidal, which governs its operating times.

It contains nine locks (seven canal, one river and one sea lock) and channel widening to allow navigation by 10ft 6in beam boats. All boats are helped through the Link so you'll need to book in advance to travel along this very popular waterway.

Opening times, charges and guides

Find out all about opening times, passage schedules, charges and more. Please note, you will need to book your passage through the Ribble Link in advance online. 

The history

The idea for the Millennium Ribble Link dates back 200 years to the promotion of the Lancaster Canal. There were several proposals for linking the two halves of the Lancaster Canal, north and south of the Ribble, but they were expensive and eventually a tramroad was built. There were other schemes to link the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Tarleton with the Lancaster Canal at Preston, but they came to nothing, as did the idea of a floating towpath across the Ribble with a short canal from the river to the Lancaster Canal.

The dream of connecting the Lancaster Canal to the rest of the inland waterway network never fully died, however, and an alternative scheme was devised to canalise the Savick Brook at the southern end of the waterway. The £5.4 million project received a major boost when the Ribble Link Trust successfully bid for a grant of £2.7 million from the Millennium Commission. Construction work started in December 2000 and the Link opened to navigation in July 2002.