Places of interest
Places of interest
‘Captured Africans’ slave trade memorial
Before going over the Millennium footbridge the 2nd section of the Fair Trade Way starts at the ‘Captured Africans’ slave trade memorial, which was developed as part of the Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project (STAMP) in 2002. The sculpture was created by Kevin Dalton Johnson as a memorial to the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The names of the slave ships and their captains are engraved on the side of the memorial with the number of slaves carried on each voyage. A total of 25 slave ships sailed from Lancaster carrying a total of 5,034 slaves. Unlike their captains we cannot name each slave but at least we can count them down to every man, woman and child. Over 10 million people were taken from their African homeland and transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas; another two million did not survive the crossing. This was the greatest enforced movement of people in the history of mankind.
The settlement of Lancaster grew up around the Roman Fort built in about 80AD. The name Lancaster comes from the river Lune (itself coming from the Celtic word meaning pure or clean) and the Saxon word ‘ceaster’ meaning a group of Roman buildings. Lune Ceaster evolved over time to become Lancaster.
A Norman castle was built on the site of the Roman fort and they formed the priory to go with the church of St Mary in 1094. The stone keep was built in 1170 and the castle wall, towers and gateway were built by King John in the early 13th century.
After Liverpool, Bristol and London Lancaster was the fourth biggest slave trade port in England and during the 18th century the city prospered from the Atlantic slave trade. You can take the ‘Lancaster Slave Trade Trail’ across the city developed by the children and teachers of Dallas Road Community Primary School and Lancaster Global Link.
Often referred to as one of the “wonders of the waterways” the Lune Aqueduct was built in1797 consisting of five brick arches supporting a stone trough, now lined with concrete. Along its top is a deep cornice and balustrades along the parapet. Like the aqueduct at Garstang it was designed by the Scottish surveyor and engineer, John Rennie (1761 – 1821) and claimed to be his best work. The builder was a Scotsman, named Alexander Stevens, who died before completing his work which was finished by his son.
Construction of this six hundred feet long and sixty feet high structure began in January 1794, and by July there were 150 men working on it night and day so it could be finished before the winter floods. When finally complete the project was more than £30,000 over budget (2.6 times the original estimate) leaving no more money for the planned aqueduct over the River Ribble to the South, meaning the canal was never joined to the main canal network as intended.
An inscription on the upstream face of the aqueduct reads: “To Public Prosperity”. The downstream side bears a Latin inscription, translated as: “Old needs are served, far distant sites combined. Rivers by art to bring new wealth are joined“.
Carnforth Railway Station
Carnforth Railway Station was opened in 1846 by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway Company and was completely rebuilt in 1937. The station was the setting for the classic film “Brief Encounter” starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Filmed during World War 2 in 1945, Carnforth was chosen for the film due to its remote location and therefore safety from attack. Filming was done during the night so trains could continue to run in the day. The station was closed in 1970 and the buildings left derelict until their restoration by the Carnforth Station and Railway Trust in 2000 in cooperation with Railtrack at a cost of £1.5 million. The Brief Encounter Refreshment Room and Visitor Centre was opened on 17 October 2003.
Surrounded by beautiful parkland and the hills of the Lake District Leighton Hall dates back to 1246. It was the home of the Gillow furniture making family, but today is now inhabited by the Leighton family. Leighton Hall has many stories to tell and secrets to reveal from the lock of James II’s hair in the Drawing room to the daisy shaped table in the hall. The Hall is open to the general public from May to September, but pre booked groups and private parties are welcome all year round.
Leighton Moss is in the care of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in an area of outstanding beauty. This wonderful nature reserve is the largest reed bed in north-west England, but also includes lagoons and woodland. It provides a home to many special birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. You may even come across the occasional red deer, not to mention the abundant butterflies!
The reserve and visitor centre are open daily all year round (except 25 December). The reserve is open from 9 am to dusk and the visitor centre from 9.30 am-5 pm (4.30 pm November-January inclusive).
Arnside Tower is believed to be a ruined Pele (Peel) Tower or Tower House built by the De Broughton family around 1340. Over 100 castles and Pele Towers were built in the Middle Ages between the River Lune and the Scottish border in order to defend Northern England from the Scots. Arnside Tower is one of a group of towers in the area that are within sight, and therefore signalling distance of each other, e.g. Hazelslack, Borwick, Beetham, Levens, Sizergh and Allithwaite (across the sands).
The Tower was damaged in a fire in 1602, but was rebuilt and remained occupied until the roof timbers were removed in the 1680′s. In 1815 it was sold to Daniel Wilson of Dallam and in 1884 a storm destroyed the internal cross wall and the west corner of the tower.
Arnside Tower is unusual for a fortified Pele Tower for several reasons; it is a free standing tower that never had any surrounding buildings attached to it, it has four storeys instead of the usual three, the walls are only 1.2 metres thick and there are no vaults below ground level which is an important factor when defining Pele Towers. It has therefore been suggested that the tower may have been originally built as a hunting lodge and not a fortification or possibly that the tower may have been completely rebuilt following the fire in the 17th century.
Although remarkably photogenic and of great interest internally, ramblers should be warned that the building is now unsafe and therefore should not be entered.
Arnside village lies beside the estuary of the River Kent on the north eastern corner of Morecambe Bay. The railway line to West Cumbria passes over the River Kent via the Arnside viaduct. Up to the 19th century, the village had been used as a local port, but the building of the viaduct caused the estuary to silt up. Arnside Tower is by far the oldest building in the parish.
The second section of the Fair Trade Way ends at the beautifully picturesque stone jetty at Arnside. This solid pier offers stunning views across the Kent estuary making it very popular with locals and visitors alike. It was built by the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway Company to enable ships to unload at Arnside after construction of the railway viaduct caused the estuary to silt up, thereby preventing passage to Milnthorpe. It replaced an earlier wooden structure and was later sold to the town for the sum of £100.