City, Coast & Countryside Circuit
This short triangular ride offers plenty of variety, ranging from the historic heart of Lancaster, the car-free bustle of the Greenway, the wide open space of Morecambe’s breezy Prom to the peaceful canal towpath.
An excellent ride for all the family, this route is almost all on traffic-free cycle-tracks, apart from one stretch of about 250 m on an on-road cycle-lane; this can be avoided by walking the short distance. It’s also almost entirely flat, with just one gentle climb approaching Hest Bank.
The route is described starting at Lancaster’s Millennium Bridge but can be joined at any point; there are numerous connections to other cycle routes, especially in Lancaster and along the Greenway.
Distance approx: 17.6 km/ 10.9 miles
Public Toilets: Available on Morecambe Promenade (charge).
Refreshments: Many options near the start/finish and in Morecambe, plus pub at Hest Bank (see point 4).
Cross the Millennium Bridge to the north side, and bear left on the Lancaster–Morecambe Greenway, parallel to the river. Pass under Carlisle Bridge and keep straight on along the track; where it forks keep straight ahead. Cross the access lane to the Trimpell sports ground and soon after bear left across another minor road to a gate where the
route crosses a railway line.
Look out for: Lancaster’s 18th-century waterfront; the cycle-racing circuit at Salt Ayre sports centre.
2. RAILWAY CROSSING 4.6 km/ 2.8 miles.
This is the line between Morecambe and Heysham port and carries very few trains, but of course TAKE CARE crossing the line. Continue until the track ends just past Morecambe railway station. Turn right, then shortly follow signs left to carefully cross a supermarket access road. Join the red cycle lane alongside Central Drive. At a roundabout follow the cycle lane around and go right then almost immediately bear left to join the Promenade.
NOTE: If you have young children in tow and don’t want to cycle on Central Drive, it’s only about 250 metres to walk, and you can cross Marine Road at a pedestrian crossing.
3. PROMENADE 5.5 km/ 3.4 miles
Continue along the Promenade for almost 4 km/2.5 miles. An obvious landmark near the end is the Venus and Cupid sculpture (by Shane Johnstone) at Scalestones Point. Soon after this, cross the main road at a lights-controlled crossing and continue on the broad pavement. Climb a small hill, crossing the main West Coast rail line, and at the top turn right on Rushley Drive. Follow the quiet cul-de-sac to its end.
Look out for: The restored Midland Hotel, an Art Deco masterpiece;The Stone Jetty, where Morecambe Bay shrimp were once loaded onto trains for express delivery to Manchester and London; The statue of Eric Morecambe, one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers of the 20th century. The statue is by Graham Ibbeson; And of course, fabulous views across the bay to the Lake District fells.
4. END OF RUSHLEY DRIVE 10.5 km/ 6.5 miles.
Pass a barrier and go right down a short track to join the canal towpath. Continue right, along the towpath. (NOTE: if you go left here instead of right, it’s about 300m to a bridge which leads to the Hest Bank Hotel, an ideal pub-stop, and also the last refreshment opportunity before returning to Lancaster). The canal winds through fields and then through the outskirts of Lancaster before crossing the Lancaster Aqueduct high above the river Lune. Continue over Caton Road. Pass under a metal bridge and then a stone bridge (Dolphinlee Bridge).
Look out for: The Aqueduct was designed by John Rennie and completed in 1797, but proved so costly that no money remained for another aqueduct at Preston which would have linked the canal to the rest of the network.
5. DOLPHINLEE BRIDGE 15.7 km/ 9.8 miles.
Immediately after the bridge, turn right down a track to join the pavement beside Caton Road. Bear left, crossing the end of Langdale Road; continue across another junction then cross Caton Road via a marked island. Go down a short track then turn left on the main cycle path (part of the River Lune Millennium Park). Follow the track under Skerton Bridge and past a skatepark. Fork right and take an underpass under the main road. Go round right and then back left to the riverside. Continue back to the Millennium Bridge.
Look out for: Lancaster’s Millennium bridge was designed by Whitby, Bird and Partners; its two angled masts, cable stays and the ‘gangplank’ which runs down to St George’s Quay all pay tribute to Lancaster’s maritime heritage.
Alternative routes to leaving the Canal in Lancaster are:
- For north Lancaster – exit canal at Hammerton Hall Lane and follow NCN6 through Skerton and Ryelands Park
- For city centre – exit canal at Shaw Street, Nelson Street & Quarry Road
- For south Lancaster – exit canal at Aldcliffe Road
- Lancaster, LA1 1AY
- Get Directions