Glasson and the Glasson Dock area – Lancaster

The village of Glasson is situated at the end of the Lancaster Canal, south of the City of Lancaster in Northern England.  It was a small farming hamlet known as Old Glasson and Brows-saltcote.

A boat maneuvers in the dock

Development of the area was organised by the Lancaster Port Commission due to the difficulty of navigating the River Lune to the docks in Lancaster. They realised that a dock would help shipping and in turn increase the prosperity of Lancaster due to increases in trade.

Building was financed by Lancaster merchants and it needed two Acts of Parliament in 1738 and 1749 to allow the construction of the walls and quays.

The dock area was built by Thomas Morris in 1787.

He was a civil engineer and also noted for his work on the West India Export Docks on the Isle of Dogs in London.

The docks were connected by a branch to the Lancaster Canal in 1826.

The canal leaves Glasson Dock heading for Lancaster

The canal leaves Glasson Dock heading for Lancaster

Many of the buildings in the village were built in the 19th century, including the church (Christ Church).

The quay was connected to the railway network in 1883.

Built by the London and North Western Railway Company the railway operated until the closure of passenger services on 5th July 1930.

Goods traffic continued until 7th September 1964.

The trackbed of the disused branchline is now a linear park and cycleway called the Lancashire Coastal Way.

A number of pictures exist of trains moving nitro-chalk and other goods ready for transport.  This product was made in nearby Heysham and at Billingham in the North East of England. It was used as a fertiliser.

Some commercial use is still made of the docks however it is now tourists and pleasure craft that occupy most berths.

The area, in part, is operated by British Waterways Marinas Ltd.

Christ Church Glasson Dock

Christ Church

Christ Church

Built in 1840, Christ Church was expanded, with the inclusion of a chancel, in 1931-2.

The church sits adjacent to the towpath of the Lancaster Canal on the edge of the dock complex.

The church was built by the Lancashire architect Edmund Sharpe in 1840. It is in the Diocese of Blackburn

Edmund Sharpe became mayor of Lancaster in 1848–49 and played an important part in implementing the first Public Health Act in the area.

A number of war graves are situated in the cemetary.


The Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal in south Lancaster has been identified as one of the top ten places to see watery wildlife across British Waterways’ 2,200 mile network of canals and rivers.

Swans and other birds in the estuary near to Glasson Dock

Swans and other birds in the estuary near to Glasson Dock

Alongside an impressive variety of birdlife in the winter, the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal affords lovely views across Morecambe Bay to the high fells of the Lake District .

The canal’s proximity to the sea means that gulls are present at all times, including Mediterranean and yellow-legged gulls.

Whooper and Berwick swans can sometimes be seen, together with over-wintering pink-footed geese.

Guides are available free from British Waterway’s offices, the customer service centre on 01923 201120 or visit

Walk, cycle or a day trip?

Many adventures can start or end in the area.

The Coastal Way is a 137 mile footpath following the coastline between Merseyside and Cumbria. The section running through Lancashire is called the Lancashire Coastal Way.

Lancashire Coastal Way

Lancashire Coastal Way

Here are a few websites we have found describing visits made by other people to the area and sources of more information.

Many motorcyclists come to the area, maybe because of the promise of a hearty meal and cup of tea at the Lock Keepers Rest or one of the local hostelries.

Cafe d’lune has recently opened just outside of the dock complex offering a friendly welcome, home made cakes and a great place for a rest.

It looks like this place has been here a while. Can you add to the history as information on the web is sketchy?


As long as you have a rod licence and a British Waterways permit, you can fish along the whole length of the Lancaster Canal.

Fishing in the dock area

Fishing in the dock area

Permits are available from the British Waterways Wigan office British Waterways, Waterside House, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5AZ Tel: 01942 405700 Email:

If the lines don’t go tight then you could opt for buying the fish ready smoked from the nearby Port of Lancaster Smokehouse.

Established over thirty years ago, the company has retained and maintained the traditional methods of preparing and curing fish and meats of all kinds.

Specialities include haddock from the Western Isles of Scotland, cold smoked eels, dry cured backs of English bacon, black puddings as well as hickory smoked almonds and cashew nuts.

The shop is open 9am till 5pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am till 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. West Quay. Glasson Dock . Lancaster LA2 0DB . Tel 01524 751493 . Email:

Further information


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