The River Ribble

from source to sea

Part 16 - the Estuary

Scroll west from this map to follow the river to the sea.

[photograph showing market gardening]

Agriculture around the estuary

At either side of the river, between Preston and the coast, the most important land use is the growth of crops. Potatoes, and other vegetables predominate.

[photograph showing confluence of Freckleton Pool with Ribble]

Confluence of Freckleton Pool with Ribble

Freckleton Pool is a tidal creek, which runs from the here, for about a mile, to the village of Freckleton. The creek is used as an anchorage for a small number of recreational craft.

Freckleton is one of the oldest villages in the Fylde area, and was recorded in the Domesday Book. Although mainly an agricultural village, the Ship Inn was a hotel in the 14th century. Bunker Street relates to the early years of the 20th century, when boats unloaded coal there.

[photograph of British Aerospace factory, Warton]

British Aerospace factory, Warton

Warton and Freckleton now meet, and between the the two villages and the river, lies the runway and factory of British Aerospace. In the Second World War this airfield was the base which received new aircraft from the U.S.A. These were then modified here for operational use. The factory here now designs and manufactures parts of the Eurofighter. Other fighters manufactured here include the Harrier, Hawk and Tornado.

[photograph: Longton Marsh]

Longton Marsh

The marshes are part of the Ribble Marshes National Nature Reserve, which covers approx. 2,300 hectares of saltmarsh and the intertidal zone on the south of the estuary. The reserve is home to waders, ducks, geese and terns. In autumn many wading birds stop over on their journey from the arctic to warmer regions, while some species stay here for the winter.

The photograph is taken looking north west, across the confluence of the River Douglas with the Ribble, to British Aerospace at Warton.

[photograph: the Dolphin Inn]

The Dolphin Inn

The official start of the Ribble Way is the Dolphin Inn, at the end of Marsh Lane, Longton. From here the path takes walkers along the tidal embankment, overlooking the marsh, shown in the previous photograph.

[photograph of Tidal lock between Leeds Liverpool Canal, Rufford Branch and the River Douglas]

Tidal lock between Leeds Liverpool Canal, Rufford Branch and the River Douglas

Looking upstream along the River Douglas, the tidal lock can be seen on the right. Through this lock the Douglas links the Ribble to the national canal network to the south.

[photograph of the beach at Lytham]

The beach at Lytham

Back on the northern bank of the estuary is Lytham. Here the mudflats are exposed at low tide. The only tourists who visit this beach are those who arrive in sailing dinghies - but between the sea wall and the road there is a large expanse of lawn which is popular with day trippers.

[photograph taken looking out to sea]

Looking out to Sea

Taken at Lytham, this is where the Ribble meets the Irish Sea. To the south of the river is Southport, and on the coast to the north is St Anne's, and then Blackpool.

Go to:

River Ribble Part 15
River Ribble index page
Graham and Lin Dean's home page.

© Graham Dean 1996 - 2009.