The Iconic Lune Aqueduct – Structural Marvels of Lancashire

The Lune Aqueduct represents a civil engineering masterpiece and is known to be the ‘wonder of the waterways’ in Lancashire. It goes across the River Lune canal for 664 feet and is at the height of 61 feet.  The average level of water in this river is 53 feet.

Alexander Stevens built this bridge based on the design by John Rennie. They followed the traditional techniques of bridge building when constructing the Lune. The structure comprises of five semi-circular arches, spanning seventy feet. The piers that support the construction rest on imported Russian timber piles that are driven into the river bed. The beauty of this construction is that the wood used does not rot even though it is perpetually wet. The piers feature a hollow construction model but are also built using stone and with iron bars that help in strengthening it. On completion, the hollow centers were filled with debris. The water was pumped out, while wooden scaffolds supported the wedge-shaped stones structure and these became the masonry arches to place the final keystones.

The canal has a trough that spans over 20 feet and is a marvel in itself. There are curving side walls featuring a depth of one foot. There are also clay puddles that are 18 inches thick to make the entire structure watertight. When they started working on the structure in 1791, the construction cost was around the £48,400 mark. Almost 200 skilled workers were employed in the construction of this bridge. The budget that was used to build this bridge was so high that it ate into the budgets of other bridges that were scheduled to be built across the Ribble. In the year 2012, British Waterways spent around £1,600,000 on the Lune Aqueduct for its repair and maintenance works. The works included an installation of a concrete canal lining reinforced to seal the interface to prevent leakage between the North embankment and aqueduct. To fulfill these maintenances and repairs, the British Waterways secured £1m in funding for performing a series of enhancements to its environment and the structure that included:

  • Restoring brickwork and historic masonry
  • Improving access between the River Lune and the aqueduct
  • Landscaping works to promote the aqueduct’s prominence against its backdrop
  • Towpath improvements, and a car park for visitors
  • Innovative schemes for training, education and volunteering activities

Thanks to the new enhancements the aqueduct is now transformed into a heritage, environmental, and educational resource for schools, local residents, and tourists.

Things to Do in The Locality

  • The Romans built Lancaster Castle which is one of the most prominent places to visit around here. It is a must-visit site for history buffs and tourists.
  • Hardknott Pass allows you to enjoy long country drives, ensuring a breathtaking experience.
  • Carnforth Station is a Heritage Centre suitable for people keen on rail history. This heritage center also features a café and an impressive museum making it a perfect place to spend an entire day while exploring the Lune Aqueduct.
  • Cottage Museum is a tribute to the 18th-century lifestyle and is a unique museum to experience.
  • RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve is an excellent place for those with children to experience wildlife and close-encounters with everything natural.