Millennium Mark A MILLENNIUM PROJECT Supported by funds from the National Lottery
The Ribble Link Trust Ltd.


The Route of the Link

In 1981 the preliminary survey suggested three possible routes for the Link but only one remains, the other two having been developed as housing estates, and is registered with Preston Borough Council who have granted full planning permission, subject to a number of conditions.

There are no major obstacles on the route and Preston Borough Council and the Lancashire County Council have shown support for the project. They are enthusiastic about promoting the Link to generate traffic for Preston Dock in its new capacity as a water sports centre and the site of Preston Maritime Festival. Developments at the dock already include a marina and shopping facilities whilst the centre of Preston can be reached in a ten-minute walk.

In this satellite photograph (taken from The Sunday Times CD - window on the uk 2000) the rectangle outlined in black shows the area covered by the map below and its relationship to Preston and the River Ribble.
The M6 motorway can be seen running northwards, around the eastern side of Preston, from its junction with the M61 at the bottom right-hand corner.
[Aerial view of Preston area.]

[Map of the Route]

The Route in Detail

The plans shown below should not be taken as definitive of the finished project as several details have still to be finalised.
From the start at lock 1 the route goes under Blackpool Road and behind the Lea Gate Hotel before passing the pumping station.
[Plan of the Route]

From the pumping station the route twists and turns through lock 2 and the mooring basin to Goodyear's bridge. Note: Two bridges which were previously shown crossing the navigation and the by-wash channel of lock 2 are no longer in the plans.
[Plan of the Route]

From Goodyear's bridge there is a relatively straight section to lock 2a and the golf course footbridge.
[Plan of the Route]

Beyond the footbridge the route passes between the golf course and the BNFL sports ground before going under the golf course access bridge on the way to lock 3.
[Plan of the Route]

From lock 3 the route is almost straight to Leyland Bridge where the tow-path takes a detour around the church. After lock 4 come two sharp bends first to the left and then the right.
[Plan of the Route]

Next is the bridge carrying Savick Way followed by a straight section leading through lock 5 then on to the tunnel under the Preston to Blackpool railway line.
[Plan of the Route]

After a slight turn to the right the route passes under Tom Benson Way from which the route emerges into a small basin. Here boats can turn and moor before ascending locks 6, 7 and 8 to the level of the Lancaster Canal.
[Plan of the Route]

Overall Length

The start of the navigation is one and a half miles down river from Preston Riversway at the confluence of the River Ribble and Savick Brook. From here the route follows the course of the Savick Brook to a point west of Cottam Mill Bridge (No. 16) on the Lancaster Canal, an overall distance of almost 4 miles.

Number and Size of Locks

It is proposed there will be nine locks in total, lowering the water level from the canal to the Ribble by approximately 18.1m (59').

The locks will be 22m (72') long and 4.27m (14'3") wide.


At the junction with the Lancaster Canal a contemporary steel arch bridge will carry the tow-path over the entry to the Link. All the lock side walls will be constructed from sheet steel piles with steel-reinforced concrete bottoms, cills and gate mountings. At the bottom of the three-rise locks a turning basin, 40m long by 20m wide, will be created to enable boats to make a sharp turn between the locks and the tunnels under the Tom Benson Way and railway. There will also be a landing stage at which boats can moor while waiting to use the locks.

The construction of the banks will vary depending on their stability. In some instances it will again be sheet piling with other locations being either gabions - a type of stone-filled netting or re-cycled plastic. There will also be a landing stage at which boats can moor while waiting for passage. As far as possible the necessary works will be confined to one bank of the brook and the other side will be left in its natural state.


There are five major bridges which cross the route, none of which need major modification. In addition there are four minor bridges which need to be modified as do three of the four sewerage pipes which also cross the route.


From the Ribble Link Navigation to:
  1. The northern terminus of the Lancaster Canal at Tewitfield 67.0 Km - 41.6 Miles.
  2. Preston Marina 3.2 Km - 2 Miles.
  3. The Leeds & Liverpool Canal (Rufford Branch) 12.9 Km - 8 Miles.
Along the Ribble Link Navigation:
Feature Distance (m)
Start of Navigation 0
Lock 1, pound at 2.7m a.o.d. 70
Savick Bridge (Blackpool Road) 320
Pipe 750
Lock 2, rise 1.8m 1280
Farm Bridge 1360
Lock 2a, rise 1.8m 1960
Golf Club Footbridge 2100
Golf Club Access Bridge 2670
Lock 3, rise 1.5m 2760
Leyland Bridge (Lea Road) 3120
Lock 4, rise 1.5m 3260
Savick Way Bridge 3700
Lock 5, rise 2.9 4130
Railway Bridge 4240
Tom Benson Way Bridge 4280
Lock 6, rise 3.0m 4340
Lock 7, rise 3.0m 4360
Lock 8, rise 3.0m 4390
Basin Bridge 4480
Lancaster Canal 4513

Budget Costs

We have estimated the cost of building the navigation at approximately £5.4M.

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Last Revised: Wed 13th March 2002

Copyright © 1997-2001 by John Clegg, Cliff Fazackerley and the Ribble Link Trust Ltd.

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