Lancaster to Glasson Dock Bike Ride
This is an easy ride, with a seafaring atmosphere. Starting along St George’s Quay, the heart of the old Port of Lancaster, the ride ends up at Glasson Dock, which developed in the 19th century, largely thanks to its link to the Lancaster Canal. (An optional extra loop goes to the historic remains of Cockersands Abbey). Glasson today still serves commercial traffic as well as pleasure-boating.
Distance approx: 19.3 km/12 miles to Glasson Dock (point ) return; add 6.8 km/4.25 miles for the extra loop.
Ride and terrain: Initially on road along St George’s Quay, then converted railway track. All of this is flat. The loop beyond Glasson is mostly on quiet lanes with a short climb, and includes one section of rougher track, which can be muddy after heavy rain.
Public Toilets: At Conder Green (point ) and Glasson (Point ).
Refreshments: Pubs on St George’s Quay near the start, and at Conder Green near the end, plus several pubs and cafes at Glasson Dock
1. START (LA1 1AY)
Leave the Millennium Bridge by the lower exit on the south bank, and ride along St George’s Quay, following the
road to its end.
Look out for: The 18th century waterfront, from Lancaster’s brief period as a major port. The remaining warehouses are mostly now converted to residential use. Pride of place goes to the Customs House (1764), now the city’s Maritime Museum.
2. 2 km/1.25 miles (car parking possible nearby).
Continue straight ahead on a narrower, surfaced track, leaving the city behind. The old railway trackbed joins from the left, at a slightly higher level, but it’s easier to stay on the lower track till it ends at a small parking area.
3. End of lane below Aldcliffe 3.75 km/2.3 miles (small car park).
Go through a gate to continue along the cycle-track, following the old railway alongside the estuary, to emerge at a
larger car park.
Look out for: Birds on the estuary and the salt-marshes alongside, especially in winter.
4. Conder Green. 8 km/5 miles.
Parking, toilets. From the end of the car park continue along the old railway, over a small bridge and along the sea wall into Glasson Dock.
Look out for: More wildlife; the skeletons of long-abandoned boats half-buried in the salt-marsh. In Glasson itself there may be small merchant ships loading or unloading in the outer harbour, while the inner harbour presents a colourful scene with its mixture of sailing yachts and traditional narrowboats from the Lancaster Canal.
5. Glasson Dock harbour bridge. 9.3 km/5.8 miles. Toilets, parking, refreshments nearby.
Cross the little swing-bridge between the inner and outer harbours and continue straight ahead up the hill.
Look out for: Great views from the top, especially across the estuary to Sunderland Point.
6. Tithebarn Hill. 10.2 km/6.4 miles.
Continue until the road swings left: here make a sharp right turn into Marsh Lane. TAKE CARE here – it’s easy to overshoot; watch for traffic at the bend. Past a caravan site the lane gives way to a rough track. This follows a line of trees then bears left to cross a bridge in a dip. Continue to Crook Farm. Bear left to meet a road on the sea wall, and follow it till it ends at a small parking area. Beyond this there’s no right of way for bikes but it is well worth continuing on foot the short distance (about 600m) to the ruins of Cockersands Abbey.
Look out for: The stony foreshore attracts a different range of birds. At low tide you can venture out a short distance and may find shellfish and other marine life. Cockersands Abbey was founded in the 12th century, when the site was virtually an island. The one building that still stands is the Chapter House. Fragments of masonry remain and a sign-board fills in more of the story.
7. Cockersands Abbey car park. 12.8 km/8 miles
Retrace a short way to a road junction and turn right, inland. Go left at the next junction and left again at the next, signed for Glasson. Follow the lane north to a T-junction on a bend. Turn right, over the canal and down to a mini roundabout. Go left and then almost immediately right to rejoin the cycle-track on the sea wall.
Turn left to return to Glasson Dock,turn right to retrace towards Lancaster.
- Lancaster, LA1 1AY
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