the railway and M6 carved their way past Kendal the Lancaster Canal had
been the town's vital trade artery.
Just eight years after the French Revolution investors had enabled the
Lancaster Canal to sail over the River Lune and the canal reached as far
North as Tewitfield. But it was not until 1819 that the funding and work
was enabled to excavate the new canal right into the heart of Kendal.
Read a short history here (http://www.lctrust.co.uk/pages/the-canal/history.php?WindowWidth=1280)
While the canal was soon overtaken by the railway as trading route, the
saddest blow came in 1960 when the government was developing the M6 motorway.
The government was parsimonious and refused to include a bridge over the
canal, hence leaving 15 miles of the canal route as the "missing"
and soon to be overgrown and forgotten section to Kendal.
But the route of the old canal towpath is still a delightful walk through
farmland and deciduous woodland. A suggested afternoon ramble can start
at Canal Head and pass Parkland before heading in the Natland direction.
The path is well marked with gates and stiles as old canal route wends
its way across open field heading south. Every now and then the beautifully
vernacular limestone bridges can be seen in redundant but splendid isolation.
After a couple of miles the old towpath enters woodland where nature has
recolonised the old canal bed with trees. At Sedgewick the canal route
crosses the sturdy aqueduct that is a miniature brother to the heritage
listed Rennie's aqueduct further south over the Lune at Lancaster. The
route eventually crosses the ever busy dual carriageway A591 before slipping
unseen into the hamlet of Hincaster. Here the former canal tunneled through
the limestone ridge.
Just to the
right of the heavily overgrown tunnel entrance the bridleway that was
used by the heavy haulage horses can be seen winding its way up and over
the appropriately named Tunnel Hill. At this point one option for walkers
is to take the minor road south and then west that eventually drop down
the idyllic Haverflatts Lane to the old town of Milthorpe where frequent
buses can be taken back to the Kendal start point. The alternative is
to carry on south following the canal route to the Tewitfield risers of
Trust was formed in 1963 and has continued to fight to have the canal
restored. The Trust has done sterling work restoring and attempting to
preserve important features of the route in the hope that one day barges
might once again sail through Hincaster tunnel and into Kendal town.
The old canal towpath footpath passing through woodland