The Canal & River Trust, which looks after the Lancaster Canal, has worked in partnership with Thurnham Parish Council to complete a £25,000 project that has transformed the gateway into Lancaster's 230-year old Glasson Dock.

Once the largest port in the North West, importing cotton, sugar, spices and slaves from Africa and the Indies, Glasson Dock situated on the head branch of the Lancaster Canal has changed significantly since the harbour opened in 1787. 

Located on the 2.5 mile stretch of the Glasson Branch on the Lancaster Canal which opened in 1826 and provided the towns of Kendal, Lancaster and Preston with a link to the sea, today, Glasson Dock is a Scheduled Monument, protected by the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. 

Recreational boating

Glasson is a quiet village with a marina and a small, active port and the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal has swopped cargo for leisure boating.

Thurnham Parish Council successfully secured a £17,280 Landfill Communities Fund grant from the Lancashire Environmental Fund along with contributions from the Canal & River Trust to carry out the transformation. 

New shrubs, trees and a grassed area were planted to replace overgrown vegetation and broken and uneven paving.  A new bench now offers a viewpoint to enjoy the renewed space and look out onto the Dock and cycle racks have also been installed nearby via Morecambe Bay Partnership.

L-R: Christine Milligan, Anne Kingston (LEF), Nick Smith, Christine Rowland, Frank Ford and Maggie Stainton.

Community pride

Nick Smith, Enterprise Manager at the Canal & River Trust has been leading on the regeneration project with Thurnham Parish Council, he said: "We've worked with the local community to improve the main approach into the village, changing an area that had become an eyesore into a much more open and inviting space.

"It's brilliant to help make a positive difference to this community and to provide a much more fitting welcome to the Lancaster Canal and help create a space people can feel proud of."

Water safety

Katie Hutchinson, Education Coordinator at The Canal & River Trust added: "As part of this regeneration project we have visited Thurnham Glasson C of E Primary School to deliver a water safety talk to children from the local community and help them to understand more about the history of the Glasson Dock Branch and the Lancaster Canal through a hands-on canal building workshop."

Maggie Stainton from Thurnham Parish Council said: "Residents at our public consultation in 2013 were clear about the need to do something about old mooring site known locally as the 'Babagee area', an overgrown area of land which is a key gateway into for visitors to Glasson. 

"We responded to the requests of residents to bring about a positive change to their village and put our efforts into making this happen and creating an inviting entrance to Glasson for visitors and locals alike will enjoy."

Andy Rowett, Fund Manager, Lancashire Environmental Fund said: "It's important to see Landfill Communities Fund grants used for regeneration projects like this improving the environment and bringing new focus to this historically important area."

Photo credit: Stephen Garnett Photography
Images courtesy: Canal & River Trust