Lancaster and Lune Estuary Circular Walk
It’s part of Lancaster’s charm that it remains a compact city, enjoying close contact with surrounding countryside. This easy walk takes full advantage, moving from the bustle of the city centre to the leisurely pace of the canal and on to the wide-open spaces of the Lune Estuary, where binoculars and a bird book would be ideal companions.
Distance: Approx 7.3 km / 4.5 miles
Gradient and terrain: Mostly flat, some moderate ascents. Underfoot: Street, towpath, lanes, good tracks and paths; nowhere rough, rarely muddy.
Public Toilets: In city centre.
Refreshments: Plentiful at start and finish of walk, nothing in middle section.
1 Start. Outside Lancaster Visitor Information Centre, Lancaster, LA1 1TH
Descend Meeting House Lane and cross at traffic lights outside the Royal Kings Arms. Go straight across into pedestrianised Market St and down to crossroads at Horseshoe Corner. Turn right up Penny St then left through St Ffrances Passage. Continue straight ahead to Dalton Square. Go through the gardens then turn left in front of the Town Hall, up Nelson St. Enter Nelson Street Car Park and at far end find entrance which leads onto the canal towpath.
Look out for: Old Town Hall, now City Museum. Queen Victoria Monument, Town Hall in Dalton Square and St Peter’s Cathedral.
2 Canal Towpath 0.8km / 0.5 Miles
Go right along this, swapping sides at the first bridge. Continue past White Cross and Waterwitch pubs, then change sides again after the Waterwitch. Follow the towpath, with Aldcliffe Road alongside. Where the road swings away, leave the canal and follow the road uphill. TAKE CARE! The road is narrow and lacks decent verges. At the top, turn right down Railway Crossing Lane.
Look out for: Former Storey’s mills at White Cross revitalised for offices and light industry.
3) Aldcliffe 3 km / 1.9 Miles
Follow Railway Crossing Lane to its end, meeting the Lune Estuary Cycle Path. Go straight ahead to a stile and turn right (Lancashire Coastal Way sign) along the embankment. Follow this for about 1.5km to Marsh Point, opposite the pub on the far river bank.
Look out for: Around Marsh Point, extensive works by the Environment Agency to provide flood protection and create new wetland habitats. The pub across the river is the Golden Ball Inn at Snatchems, still occasionally cut off by high tides.
4) Marsh Point 4.5 km / 2.8 Miles
Turn right on a footpath flanked by trees. Cross the Cycle Path and continue straight ahead. When the path forks, near to the houses, take the right branch out to Willow Lane. Go right to a mini-roundabout then turn left up Westbourne Road. Follow this for about a mile to the railway station.
5) Lancaster Railway Station 6.5 km / 4 miles
Just before the railway bridge turn left on Station Rd, past the station then straight ahead onto a cycle path through Giant Axe Fields. Meet a road, go right, under the railway, and turn immediately left on continuation cycle path. At an opening on the right, climb steeply through trees and past an amphitheatre to the Priory Church. Striaght along the side of the church to a flight of steps. Descend then go right, below the castle walls, to return to The Storey, which houses Lancaster Visitor Information Centre and Print Room café.
Look out for: The mediaeval Priory Church and the forbidding bulk of the Castle centred around its Norman keep. Great view over the city from the Priory steps.