Canal Bridges

The part of the Lancaster Canal that passes through the former Garstang Rural District runs north/south between Bilsborrow and Forton.

All the bridges along this section would at one time have been scheduled, or listed as we know it now.

However, changes to some of the original structures means that some are no longer listed by Historic England, and only those that exist in their original structure remain listed. 

All of the listed bridges along the Lancaster Canal in the Garstang Rural District are listed as Grade 2, which means that they are particularly important buildings of more than special interest.

An easy way to decide if a bridge is listed or not is to look at its structure.  If it has railings along the top then it probably won’t be listed.  This may be because the parapet was removed during WW2, as the height of it meant that if enemy forces were marching over the bridge behind the parapet they would have been difficult to see (and be shot at) by defending British forces.

The bridges along the canal in Garstang Rural District were numbered from 44 at Bilsborrow to 79 at Cockerham Road, Forton.

Here is some information about particular bridges – those with (L) after the name are listed Grade 2 structures.

Bridge 46 – the Brock aqueduct (L)  Due to the land levels here, the canal builders had to lower the level of the River Brock and construct a weir on the upstream side so they could build an aqueduct of sufficient strength to carry the canal.

Bridge 53 – Catterall (L) Near to this bridge is the old winding mechanism for the canal drain valve, used to drain the canal if it became necessary.

Also on this bridge is what appears to be a face carved ino the keystone.  It is believed to be a mason’s mark, often found on dressed stone in buildings and public structures.

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Bridge 54 – Ray Lane (L) The remains of the old Garstang and Catterall railway station are next to this bridge.  The line was once the junction of the branch line through Garstang and Pilling to Knott End.

Bridge 61 – Wyre Aqueduct (L) The aqueduct is a single span structure, 110 feet long, which carries the canal 34 feet above the River Wyre.  It was first used in 1797 and was designed by John Rennie.

Between the Wyre Aqueduct and Kepple Lane bridge is an old Tithe Barn, thought to date from around 1710.  Currently it is used a pub restaurant.

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Bridge 63a – Water pipe bridge carries water from Barnacre reservoir to Blackpool and the Fylde.

Bridge 65 which was situated near what is now Garstang Marina was demolished some time ago.  It formerly carried the railway line which ran from Garstang to Knott End, carrying goods and passengers from 1870 until it finally closed in 1963. 

A replacement engine, Farmer’s Friend, was acquired in December of 1875 and became known locally as the Pilling Pig because of the squeal made by its whistle. 

Bridge 75 – Ratcliffe Bridge: Just before this bridge is Ratcliffe Wharf.  Here there are some old lime kilns, which were common along the canal and were used to burn lime.  Barges brought limestone from quarries near Kendal, and coal from the Wigan coalfields.  The lime was burned in the kilns to produce quicklime which was used to improve farmland and also to make mortar.