Places to visit in Lancashire. There is no doubt that Garstang is indeed a “jewel” sitting as she does in the middle of some wonderful countryside. The beautiful and scenic Lancaster Canal passes through the town and is enjoyed by so many different people. It is carefully managed for plants and wildlife by the Lancaster Canal Trust and is an excellent sanctuary for even the largest of breeding water birds. The canal first opened in 1797, and locally there is a fine example of a single span aqueduct designed by John Rennie. The Wyre Aqueduct carries the canal 34 feet above the River Wyre, and has been included on the town’s Heritage Trail leaflet. The Lancaster Canal is navigable in total for 41 miles and the whole length is totally lock free, which has to make it an easier ‘starter’ canal for any novice boat owners or hirers! Garstang has all this beauty on her doorstep; an open gateway to beautiful surroundings, rivers and canals.
Garstang is a very old place – in William the Conqueror’s day the settlement was well established and was first referred to in the Domesday Book as ‘Cherestanc’. The remains of Greenhalgh Castle can be seen on Castle Hill to remind us of Garstang’s participation in the English Civil War (1642-1651). Follow the Heritage Trails to see the most notable landmarks.
On 27 April 2000 Garstang became the world’s first Fair Trade Town and instigated the growth of an international movement that led to over 1,000 Fair Trade Towns in 23 countries. Visit our unique, independently run shops, with many of the cafes and restaurants offering delicious locally sourced produce. Garstang has a proud market tradition dating back centuries. Market Hall on High Street plays host to an indoor food market from Wednesday to Saturday, call in and buy quality produce from the local cheesemonger, butcher, baker and green grocer. Every Thursday there is a vibrant outdoor market where the streets are lined with colourful market stalls selling food, clothing and fancy goods.
Established in 2000, the Millennium Green is owned by a Charity and managed by volunteers and will never be developed. The Green has stunning views across the Bowland Fells, with riverside walks and wildflower meadows, copses and hedges.
Garstang is surrounded by some of England’s most beautiful estuaries and national parks. On a clear day, from the top of the Bowland Fells, look northwards and you can see the Lune estuary and beyond to the wider estuary of Morecambe Bay. Look further still and the breath-taking mountains of the Lake District National Park look close enough to touch. To the west you can see the Lancashire Plains and many miles of the Fylde Coast, including of course, the famous landmark of Blackpool Tower. To the south you can see towards the Welsh Mountains across the Ribble Estuary and the South Fylde Coast. One viewpoint is worth noting – the humble Nicky Nook, only 215 metres (700ft) above sea level, 3 miles from Garstang, but on a clear winter’s day you can see the highest points in three countries – England (Scafell Pike), Wales (Snowdon), and the Ancient Kingdom of the Isle of Man (Snaefell). The most amazing thing about the viewpoints is that a great deal of what you see before you, is less than an hour’s drive away from Garstang.
The town is sited on the banks of the River Wyre, and it is from here at the northern end of the town that you can see the beautiful rolling fells and hills of the Bowland countryside. It is also from here where walkers can start and finish one of the many local walks – some guided, some not, some strenuous and some gentle. Parts of the Wyre Way can also be picked up and followed from Garstang. This 41 mile walking route closely follows the River Wyre as it winds its way from the estuary, cuts through the centre of Garstang and continues on to the countryside beyond. Many walks, including those which take in the Wyre Way have been detailed by Wyre Council, and are available in leaflet form from Visit Garstang Tourist Information Centre. Garstang hosts an annual walking festival every May.
Garstang is a gateway to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a stunning area that includes the famous landmark of Pendle Hill, visible from Garstang. The Forest of Bowland AONB is a nationally protected landscape and is internationally important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds. Home to the rare and enigmatic hen harrier, symbolised on the Forest of Bowland AONB’s logo, this area is the most important breeding locality in England for this nationally threatened bird. The Forest of Bowland is also home to other endangered species such as the Merlin, Curlew, Golden Plover, and the Ring Ouzel. There are many different birding locations in the area where you can spot a variety of birds including woodland and upland species, breeding waders, passing migrants, and one or two reservoirs ensure that wildfowl and even the occasional osprey are attracted.
Once in Garstang you must call into the Visit Garstang Centre. We are situated in Cherestanc Square, next to Booths. The tourist information centre is not just for visitors, we help you choose the right event, decide on which walk you would enjoy or pick the perfect gift. We encourage people to come in and browse our wide range of tourist information brochures and leaflets for local and national areas, we support and sell local crafts, stock an imaginative range of quality giftware, including Garstang merchandise, postcards, pictures, ordnance survey maps and books about Lancashire and local walks. Our windows display information on community events in Wyre and Garstang.
We take bookings for Wyre activities, there’s something for everyone including: guided walks, health walks, wildlife walks, heritage walks, greenwood working, green activities, park activities, fun activities for families and open days; plus every May there is the popular Garstang Walking Festival.
We are open every day so don’t forget to call in and see what we have to offer.