Stainton Aqueduct, Lancaster Canal


From Date: 23/12/2015 00:00

To Date: 21/10/2020 14:30 inclusive

Type: Advice

Reason: Structure failure

Is the towpath closed? Yes


Closest waterway: Lancaster Canal

Starts at: Bridge 170, Bridge End Bridge

Ends at: Bridge 172, Stainton Crossing Bridge


21/10/2020 14:51

The completion of a £2.2 million project to restore storm-damaged Stainton Aqueduct in South Cumbria has been marked by its owners, the Canal & River Trust charity, with the launch of an exciting virtual tour along the disused Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal.

The online trip takes viewers on a four-mile interactive journey from Hincaster to Crooklands, providing fascinating insights into the canal’s history, wildlife, old working boats and impressive structures like Hincaster Tunnel and Stainton Aqueduct.

This online interactive canal archive, along with the restoration of Stainton Aqueduct, has been made possible thanks to a grant of £1.5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, delivered in partnership with the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership, and supported by grants from the Rural Payments Agency, South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria County Council and Kendal Town Council.

Stainton Aqueduct was originally constructed in 1816 to carry the Lancaster Canal over Stainton Beck, but suffered catastrophic damage in December 2015 when two destructive storms, Desmond and Eva, resulted in flood water washing away the upper towpath and apron, and causing part of the southern portal and wing walls to collapse.

The Trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of canals and river, is delighted to report the three-year restoration of this important structure has now been completed.

Canal & River Trust project manager, Graham Ramsden said: “This has been a challenging repair project, including two unexpected delays caused by high river levels in both the winters of 2018 and 2019. We saved as much of the original stone as possible and stored it on site so we could reuse it, supplemented by a small amount of new stone sourced from a nearby quarry to ensure a close match in colour and texture.

“Restoration work has included constructing new cast concrete wing walls and apron, plus highly skilled stone mason repairs to the arch barrel ceiling, decorative archway spandrel and voussoirs stones. It has been a real labour of love to ensure we preserved the aqueduct’s unique character while ensuring the structure was repaired to top 21st century civil engineering standards.”

Supporting the restoration of this important heritage structure has been a major community engagement project led by Carrie House, Lancaster Canal Towpath Trail project officer, and Canal & River Trust heritage adviser Bill Froggatt.

Carrie explained: “This restoration project has been about far more than just mending a historic stone structure. With people currently restricted by the coronavirus pandemic, we hope the online virtual tour will make it easy for everyone to explore the newly restored aqueduct and the wider legacy of this wonderful waterway, so rich in heritage and fantastic scenery.”

You can see more information about the Lancaster Canal here and take a look at the new virtual tour here.

03/08/2018 10:50

The Canal & River Trust charity and Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership (LCRP) have been awarded a £1.3million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to secure the future of Grade II-listed Stainton Aqueduct on the Lancaster Canal, near Sedgwick, in Cumbria.

The grant will fund repairs to Stainton Aqueduct, which was badly damaged during storms Desmond and Eva in December 2015. Contractors will start work next week and the repair project is likely to take around nine months.

The grant will also help to develop other key sites along the Lancaster Canal, such as Hincaster Tunnel and Sedgewick Aqueduct, and promote new leisure, educational and volunteering opportunities along the waterway, as part of the Partnership’s Lancaster Canal Towpath Trail project.

The total cost of the restoration, interpretation and community projects is £2.2 million. This new grant, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, is supplemented by secured funding of £500,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England’s Cumbria Countryside Access Fund, £140,000 from South Lakeland District Council and smaller grants from Cumbria County Council and Kendal Town Council, which supports the Towpath Trail project. The Canal & River Trust will provide the remainder of the match funding, c£200,000

In August last year, HLF gave an initial development grant of £41,000 to scope out the project so the repairs and wider heritage regeneration activity could begin as soon as the funding green light was given.

A new project officer will now be appointed for two years by the Canal & River Trust to lead the community, tourism and interpretation aspects of the initiative. Students from Kendal College and members of the local community will be invited to join in a range of activities from recording local history memories to learning traditional dry stone walling techniques. The plan is to produce two new trails, as well as wind-up audio canal character sculptures and sound and light shows deep inside Hincaster Tunnel.

Stephen Higham, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Lancaster Canal celebrates its bicentenary in 2019 so this is a perfect time to work with the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership to help realise our joint aspirations for wider heritage and regeneration activity. 

“Securing the future of the 200-year-old aqueduct is vitally important for the future prosperity of the Lancaster Canal and we are delighted the HLF grant means we can now get on with the essential restoration and repair work.”

Audrey Smith, Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership chair, added: “The canal has great untapped potential as a regional visitor and tourism destination. We look forward to continuing to work with the Canal & River Trust as we breathe new life into this waterway through the Lancaster Canal Towpath Trail project.”

The Grade ll- listed Stainton Aqueduct was built in 1819 and carries the Lancaster Canal, cared for by the Canal & River Trust, over Stainton Beck.  Prior to the damage caused during extreme rainfall in the December 2015 storms, the aqueduct was in good condition. Emergency stabilisation works costing £250,000 were completed onsite by the Canal & River Trust in early 2016. However, these were not sufficient to open up the public right of way through the aqueduct tunnel or to enable navigation over the aqueduct (principally used by a trip boat operated by the Lancaster Canal Trust).

To find out more about volunteering or donating with the Canal & River Trust, please visit or to get involved with the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership,

13/01/2017 14:12

26/04/2016 07:47

Stabilisation works at Stainton Aqueduct are well underway and the site compound and access to the Aqueduct has been installed.  40 Tonnes of clay was brought to site to start installing the dam in the navigation.  Following installation, the temporary fabric dam will be removed and a fish rescue will be completed.

As the team start to remove the haul road, material will be placed in front of the failed wing wall to help secure it from collapsing further.

06/04/2016 09:02

Works to mobilise the site commenced on 29 March 2016 and the teams are currently setting up the site, creating access to the failed Aqueduct and to the new dam location.   

The navigation and towpath will remain closed for the duration of the works, which are anticipated to complete on 13 May 2016.

The towpath over the Aqueduct and the footpath under the Aqueduct are both closed.  As Public Rights of Way, both pathways have diversions in place until the restoration works are completed.

14/03/2016 09:26

Work will soon begin to stabilise Stainton Aqueduct on the “Northern Reaches” of the Lancaster Canal in Cumbria, after flooding over the Christmas period left the structure close to collapse.

Contractors working with the Canal & River Trust will begin to secure the aqueduct’s damaged wall that has caused its arch to crack. A more permanent dam to protect the canal pound will also be installed.

Costing over £250,000 works will take approximately 6 weeks to complete, and are part of a multi-million programme of emergency works needed as a result of the flooding. 

An update will be issued when works commence on site.

18/01/2016 17:53

Following a meeting between the Trust’s Engineers and Framework Contractor late last week, it was clear that there is a significant amount of damage sustained to the aqueduct itself as well as the adjacent embankment. This has also shown deterioration since the initial incident. At the time of the meeting, the water flowing under the aqueduct is still very high and we are unable to access under the structure to fully assess the damage and decide how to repair it.

The first actions will be to install a more substantial dam system to the canal channel. This will allow us to access the structure, carry out the required surveys and be able to manage the area more safely. As part of these works it is proposed to carry out a fish movement from the isolated area. At present we are discussing and trying to finalise the logistics of this excercise with our Framework Contractor before starting the works. We aim to have this agreed over the next week and we will issue a further update when a start date has been confirmed.

Both the Public Rights of Way, one crossing the aqueduct and one under the aqueduct, have been closed for the foreseeable future. A suggested diversion has been advertised to allow people to by-pass the location.

11/01/2016 15:30

Following the bad weather that this area of the country suffered over the last few weeks, Stainton Aqueduct has sustained significant damage.  To secure the canal and the water within it, a temporary dam has been installed. Over the coming weeks the team will be developing an action plan and a programme to repair the Aqueduct.   At the moment it is too early to be able to talk about the likely timescales for repair but we will confirm this as soon as possible.

An update will be issued on Monday 18 January 2016.   

04/01/2016 13:42

Stainton Aqueduct has sustained some damage in the recent poor weather.  As a precautionary measure, we have closed off the towpath until further notice.  Investigations will commence this week and an update will be issued on Monday 11 January 2016. 


Stainton Aqueduct has sustained some damage in the recent poor weather.  As a precautionary measure, we have closed off the towpath until further notice.  An update will be issued on Monday 4 January 2016.