Since its formation in 1963 as the Association for the Restoration of the Lancaster Canal, the Trust’s main objective has been to restore, and reopen to navigation, the length of the canal from Tewitfield, just north of Carnforth, to Kendal. At this time the Ministry of Transport was proposing to culvert, rather than bridge the canal in six places, for the northward extension of the M6 motorway and other road building.
Fortunately the canal’s engineer, John Rennie, chose a site just south of Kendal, at Crooklands, as the entry point for the canal’s water supply from the Killington Reservoir near Sedbergh, otherwise it is unlikely that this length of canal would have survived at all!
|Trust working party making new steps to the canal towpath from Westmorland Show ground in 2004|
Despite a six year long battle the Ministry finally won the day, as the commercial traffic on the canal had long since finished and few pleasure craft were using the waterway. Who could have envisaged that since that time Britain has seen a second canal age, as cruising on the canal system has become a major leisure activity.
Despite this setback, the main objective of the Trust is still the restoration of the canal back to Kendal. In addition the Trust supports the development of the canal as a public amenity whilst at the same time seeking to protect the essential character of the canal. As a result of the efforts of the Trust many of the original structures have been protected, further losses of cruising waterway have been successfully resisted, notably in Preston, and improvements have been made to the towpath by erecting interpretative panels at various sites along the canal.
A number of studies have been carried out recently as part of the process to apply for funding for the restoration of the Northern Reaches. This process is still going on, and we hope that the current proposals for a three-phase restoration scheme will be successful.
The Trust works in conjunction with various bodies including; local authorities, county councils, British Waterways and representatives from canal users, (many of whom are affiliated to the Trust). The Trust is a registered charity affiliated to the Inland Waterways Association.
Funding for our own projects is raised from donations, grants and from our sales stand, which we take to events in the area.
New members are always welcome as help is needed in various ways so that we can achieve the goal of reopening the canal to Kendal.