Sunday, December 24, 2006

Canal Walk: Sollom to Tarleton to Rufford

I parked at Sollom Lock, there is space for about 7 cars and was lucky to find a space. This lock used to be the link between the canal and the River Douglas before it was moved to Tarleton and the section of river inbetween was added to the canal. Now the lock is there in name alone, the road that crosses Strand Bridge is Lock Lane.

The stone chamber is still there but the gates and paddles have gone. You can see where the gates were fitted, the stonework and metal hinges show where the gates were attatched. The towpath from the Junction at Burscough finishes here and beyond the lock there is nothing more than a grassy track to follow. It is more of a river ramble than a towpath trek as you follow the former River Douglas along behind the tall reeds. This stretch of water has had many names: Lower Douglas Navigation, Leeds Liverpool Canal Rufford Branch, River Douglas, River Alsand. Its about a mile from the old river lock to Bnk Bridge #11. This bridge carries the A565 over both the canal and the tidal river Douglas. Its a very busy road with cars zooming across the quiet canal. Motorists will notice the warehouse next to the bridge inbetween the river and the canal.

From here its another mile to the river lock at Tarleton,but the track deteriorates further and I didnt fancy walking through the undergrowth to follow it.
There was no sign of the milepost which should be near the bridge marking 6 miles to the junction with the mainline. After a bottle of sparkling glucose drink I turned around and headed back to Sollom and then on to look for the milpost four miles from the junction.
The towpath between Sollom and Rufford is in places at the same level as the water in the canal. I was glad of my wellies as I negotiated the planks over the puddles and streams flowing from the canal across the towpath.
There was again no sign of the the four mile milepost so after taking some photos from Spark bridge I turned around and went back to the car.

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