Riversway Docklands & Preston Marina

Riversway Docklands & Preston Marina

For centuries the River Ribble was an important shipping route into northwest England, possibly from as early as the Roman times, and small quays and ports were established at Lytham, Freckleton, Tarleton, Preston and Southport. During the 19th century, pressure for better port facilities to meet the needs of the expanding cotton trade led to proposals to straighten and deepen the river channel and create a dock at Preston. The Albert Edward Dock was opened in 1892 becoming the largest single dock basin in the country. The Port of Preston was the first to introduce roll on roll off traffic in 1948 and reached the record for handling the largest amount of container and ferry traffic by 1968. It provided work for hundreds of dockers, handling ship’s cargoes from Ireland, Scandinavia, South America and the West Indies as well as transporting Lancashire goods to the four corners of the world. However, the cost of dredging the river channel for the increasingly bigger ships at the same time as a decrease in the import of traditional cargoes, proved too costly and the docks closed 1981. In the 90 years history of the port, it only made a profit in 17 years.

The new era began with a name change to Riversway and a multi-million pound make-over. The docks have been transformed into an attractive place to live, work and visit with lots of places to eat and drink or just enjoy the scenery. To continue its nautical heritage, the docks are now home to pleasure craft and receive frequent visits from canal narrow boats as they detour from their journey along the Ribble Link between the Leeds Liverpool and Lancaster Canals. Sailing craft of all shapes and sizes bob about on the water and the Dock’s wide promenades are popular for strolls and dog walking. The area hosts a number of water based events throughout the year including Canal Boat Rallies, Boat Sale Weekends and festivals. The Riversway Festival takes place around June of each year and provides a three day programme of activities centred around the marina itself. For further information download the Riversway Trail Guide (PDF 255kb).

Steam trains may also be seen traveling along the 1½ mile line which crosses the Preston Marina entrance via a swing bridge, and runs alongside the River Ribble up to Strand Road. There is also a workshop and heritage museum which houses 16 locos in addition to a shop and cafe. See the Ribble Steam Railway website for further information and opening arrangements.

Contact Preston Tourist Information for events.
Tel: 01772 253731

For Preston Marina
Tel: 01772 733595

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