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Halton Rapids

Situated just outside of Lancaster on the River Lune, Halton Rapids is a natural section of river that enjoys good paddling conditions in clean water, even in times of low rainfall. The site has hosted slalom competitions in the past but today is popular with recreational paddlers.

Managed by the volunteers of the North West Regional Development Team, Halton not only provides access to the rapids, but also changing, toilets and car parking

Expand Overview


Canoeists have been using the site at Halton since the 1970’s with National Slalom Division 2, Division 4 and novice events run there in the 1980’s. In 1989 the situation changed in the land owners sold the fishing rights and access to the site was denied. Paddlers continued to use the river in the closed fishing season gaining access to the river from the south bank. In 2009 the land on the north bank was sold to  Lancaster Cohousing Company Limited (LCH) who were sympathetic to the canoeist cause. They planned to build homes parallel to the river bank leaving a wide footpath to allow river access. They also planned to renovate the derelict mill building into small commercial units. 

In August 2014 a 25 year licence was signed between LCH & British Canoe Union (BCU) for the provision of toilet & changing facilities in the mill, as well as access to the paths and steps alongside the river. There are also six designated car parking spaces for British Canoeing users. Canoe England granted £70k of from its Capital Grants scheme to contribute towards the project, however it was all made possible through good partnership working with Lancaster Co Housing and the commitment and effort of dedicated local volunteers.

Using the rapids and features at Halton as a playspot (as opposed to simply passing through while navigating the river) is currently restricted to the period between November 1st and March 31st each year. Outside of that, the North West Region negotiates a minimum of two summer dates when paddling can take place. We have been working with the angling clubs and others to expand this access as widely as possible.

Expand Location


Halton Rapids on the River Lune is situated approximately 1km upstream of the M6 Motorway bridge, North West of the City of Lancaster. 

Access to the river at Halton has only been possible through the dedication and hard work of local volunteers over many years. Today, British Canoeing members are able to make use of the toilets, showers and parking at Halton Mill by permission and prior arrangement through the NW Region. 

For the exact location on Google Maps, please click here.

Expand Usage


Access to the facilities at Halton Rapids is managed as part of the North West Regional Development team.For those who wish to use the showers/toilets and one of the car parking spaces at Halton Mill on the River Lune near Halton Rapids,please email the NW Regional Team.

British Canoeing NW Region will collect the fees and pay the full amount over to Lancaster Cohousing. There will be no income generated for BC NW Region from these applications.

Any vehicle parked in the allocated spaces must display a valid car parking pass that has their vehicle registration number on it.

Anyone using the showers/toilets should sign in/out of the mill building. This is a Health & Safety regulation.

We would appreciate your co-operation with the Halton Mill Site Policies described more fully at the bottom of the application form.

For further details please contact [email protected]

Note from British Canoeing North West Regional Development Team


Upstream from the rapids, there is a serious hazard to river users in the area directly above the Hydro inlet.

As a direct result of the construction of the Halton Lune Hydro structure there is no longer a safe portage point around Forge Weir. When both Turbines are running the flow of water into the Hydro represents a serious hazard to anyone in or on the river above the weir on river right.

Anyone failing to exit the river far enough upstream runs the risk of being sucked into the inlet chamber and would find extreme difficulty in exiting the water safely.

British Canoeing has made the owners of the Hydro structure aware of the danger this poses. As it stands, we recommend that you do not go near the top of Forge Weir and you spread this information as far and wide as you can. Even if it looks safe the turbines can start without warning and suddenly increase the rate of flow. There are no known safe exit points on the section of river between Crook-o-Lune downstream to Forge Weir.

Expand History


This section of the River Lune has been used for kayaking & canoeing since at least the 1970’s. In the 1980’s national division 2 and division 4 canoe slalom events were held here. These events were run from the north bank of the river, where there was parking, toilet & changing facilities provided courtesy of the owners of the land and fishing rights, Luneside Engineering Company.

In 1989 paddlers were refused permission to use the north bank and its facilities in preparation for the sale of the fishing rights. So paddlers were then required to use the public car park on the south bank and paddle upstream to use the rapids. Paddling could only take place out of the fishing season since the new owners of the fishing rights would not negotiate access. Since 1989 there were no toilet or changing facilities available to paddlers at launching sites on either bank.

From 1 June 2014 parking, changing facilities, including toilets and showers, became available at Halton Mill for British Canoeing members when a 25 year lease came into being. These facilities have been made possible by cooperation in a joint venture between British Canoeing and the owners of the Halton Mill, Lancaster Cohousing.