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The Ribble Link

When John Rennie built the Lancaster Canal in 1793, he could never have dreamt it would take more than 200 years to complete it. Nearly 210 years after the canal was begun the Ribble Link was opened. When the Lancaster Canal was designed, it was to transport goods between Wigan in the South, and Kendal in the North. Two large aqueducts were designed, one over the River Lune in Lancaster, and one over the River Ribble in Preston. Unfortunately, the company ran out of money for the Ribble aqueduct and built a temporary horse drawn tramway through Preston instead. This worked fine, transporting boats across preston and so the Ribble aqueduct was never built.


The Basin

View from above the top lock

The idea was never really forgotten though, a group of enthusiasts got together in the 1980's and drew up a plan to '"canalise" the Savick Brook, to link the Lancaster Canal into the Ribble Estuary and from there to the Leeds Liverpool Canal, via Tarlton on the River Douglas.This group was the Ribble Link Trust, and the rest is history. They were helped by, amongst lots of others, The Lancashire Count Council, The Millenium Commission, British waterways and The Waterways Trust. Over the years, a lot of people work hard to get the Lancaster Canal connected to the main canal network using a Ribble Link. Now it's is a reality.

The Ribble Link follows the line of Savick Brook, with some of it's water coming from the Lancaster Canal itself. The staircase lock, made up of three actual locks, is nine meters tall, boats travelling up, or down, three meters at a time. The other locks along the link look more traditional but they are a bit different. Instead of using stone, steel piles were used, the gates made mainly of steel instead of oak. Lock nine is a sort of a version of the Thames Barrier. It is called a "rising sector gate" and rotates to hold the water in when the tide is going out. Because the Ribble Link itself is a natural waterway, based on the Savick brook, it meanders on it's original path. In some areas, other than maintaining the depth suitable for boats, banks on one side were dug out to increase the width.


View from below the top lock

The meandering Ribble Link
Statue at the Staircase on the top lock