Lune Aqueduct walk and audio trail

Enjoy a two mile walk from the Lune Aqueduct along the Lancaster Canal and listen to our fascinating audio trail along the way.

Airel shot of Lune Aqueduct Lune Aqueduct

Follow in the footsteps of those who have walked the Lancaster Canal over the years and listen to their stories with our audio trail. 

Our walk begins at the Lune Aqueduct, a Grade 1 listed structure built in 1797 to carry the Lancaster Canal over the River Lune. From here, you will follow the towpath south past old stables, mills and bridges to the Water Witch canalside pub. 

Start point: Lune Aqueduct, LA1 3PE

End point: Water Witch pub, LA1 1SU (or you can retrace your steps back to the aqueduct)

Distance: two miles (four miles there and back) 

Listen to our audio recordings as you walk

Lune Aqueduct West

John Rennie's spectacular stone aqueduct was recently restored by the Canal & River Trust with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. It is returned to its former glory and set for another 100 years of carrying canal boats across the River Lune.

Listen to Angela Washington talking about volunteering to help restore the aqueduct in 2012.

Lune Aqueduct East

The aqueduct consists of five twenty-one-metre (seventy-foot) semi-circular arches resting on piles of Russian timbers driven deep into the bed of the river.

Derrick Hudson talks about the aqueduct’s construction and its links with the canals of Venice

Carriage Works

The clock tower of the Lancaster Carriage and Wagon Works is a prominent landmark viewed from the canal. 

The works were built in 1863 and by the 1880s it was one of the largest employers in Lancaster, employing over 800 people.

John Davenport muses on the how walking the canal takes you back in time

Ridge Lane

Lancaster Canal was a working route up until the 1940s. Canal barges transported goods north and south between Kendal, Carnforth, Lancaster and Preston. The work was hard and the hours long. Barges were often operated by families who lived onboard with their children.

The Preston-based Robinsons were one barge family who worked the canal as far north as Kendal. George talks about his father who worked on the canal between 1928 and 1931.

Listen to George

Dry Dock Footbridge

This footbridge linked the workers’ housing on one side of the canal with Bath Mill on the other. You can see nesting mallards and coots amongst the wild irises and flowering rushes nearby. There is an old dry dock nearby where swans nest.

Angela Washington tells how spotting a rare canal creature inspired her to volunteer for one of the Trust’s wildlife surveys.

Listen to Angela

Bath Mill Stables

The attractive house overlooking the canal was originally the stable block from the demolished Bath Mill. There were stables every four miles along the canal.

Sylvia Robinson married the son of parents who worked canal boats before the Second World War. Here she talks about the boat horses with her nephew, Bill Robinson. Her father-in-law’s pony had its own special way to stop the horses from slowing down, as well as the ability to terrorise fishermen.

Listen to Sylvia

Moor Lane North Mill

The North Mill was built around 1819 to spin worsted yarn for twisting with silk to make the fashionable dress fabric bombazine.

The Lancaster Canal has inspired generations of artists, playwrights, poets and writers. JMW Turner painted the Lune Aqueduct in 1816.

Listen to painter Frances Winder talk about how the canal inspires her work.

Moor Lane South Mill

Moor Lane (South Mill) is an old cotton weaving and spinning mill, on the site of a sail cloth factory. It remained in use until 1981 weaving cloth, with the distinctive clattering sound of Lancashire looms. 

The 'Lady Fiona' was a pleasure boat, which cruised the canal between the 1970s and 1990. She started life as a Victorian canal boat called the 'Pet' and is the last remaining boat which plied its trade along the Lancaster Canal to survive.

Listen to three men give their views of her from the canalside

Nelson Street Bridge

This bridge bears the name Joseph Clayton 1876, commemorating his widening of the bridge in that year. Look for the deep grooves worn in the walls of the bridge by the towlines of horse boats which were hauled under the bridge.

This area of Lancaster Canal was also an outdoor classroom for Carol Millar in the 1950s.

Listen to Carol talking about her experience

Penny Street Bridge

Penny Street Bridge carries the main road into the centre of Lancaster.

The Water Witch

The Water Witch pub used to be the stables for the horses who hauled the fast boats between Preston and Kendal. The packet boats were hauled by two horses, which were changed every four miles. Passengers leaving Preston at 6am arrived in Kendal by 8pm.

In April 1833, the Water Witch swift packet boat service was started. It had a thin iron hull and lightweight shelter for passengers, made from oil cloth stretched over curved ribs with gaps for windows. It reduced the 57 mile journey time to a remarkable 10 hours. The 30 miles between Lancaster and Preston could be covered in just 3 hours, travelling at 9-10 miles per hour.

Listen to Roger Carradice and Malcolm Taylor talk about the stables and the workload of the horses