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The Ribble Link & Tarleton Lock

The idea for the Millennium Ribble Link dates back over 200 years and was part of an ambitious scheme to build a canal - the Lancaster Canal - starting at Wigan in the south and continuing 75 miles north to Kendal. However, this original scheme was never completed and the Lancaster Canal remained inaccessible from other canals.

Now two centuries later the idea of connecting the Lancaster Canal to the rest of the UK's inland waterway network has finally been realised with the opening of the £6 million Millennium Ribble Link which connects the Lancaster Canal to the Inland Waterway network via Tarleton Lock. The Ribble Link comprises 4 miles of new navigation, 9 locks, new footpaths and cycleways, environmental initiatives and an arts trail. The Lancaster Canal provides for some 41 miles of lock-free sailing, winding through rural countryside, and allowing access to historic structures such as the Lune Aqueduct and Glasson Dock.

The Millennium Ribble Link is the first new English Canal to be built for more than a century and has already increased leisure and tourism opportunities and greatly enhanced the local area. It is quickly becoming a familiar sight to see narrow boats 'in procession' on the River Douglas, setting out for the Lancaster canal or Riversway at Preston or returning to the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool canal. The dramatic increase in traffic is also breathing new life into the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool canal with two Marina projects on the go at Rufford, Fettlers Wharf and St Mary's Marina, and also bringing custom into the two local boatyards at Tarleton and Hesketh Bank.

Activity at Tarleton Lock can now be regularly witnessed as the boats are efficiently moved between the river Douglas and the canal at times dictated by the high tide. Due to the popularity of the Ribble Link and the critical tidal requirements, bookings must be made well in advance, and the waiting list has already been up to 2 months long.

Doing the Ribble link: Narrow Boats navigate the River Douglas at Hesketh Bank Boatyard
Last stage of the Ribble Link - an anxious wait as the tide receeds at Tarleton Lock
The Ribble link joins the Lancaster Canal to the Leeds Liverpool canal at Tarleton Lock
26 boats complete the Ribble Link through Tarleton Lock on one tide
Joining the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal - the final step of the Ribble Link
I've done the Ribble Link!