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Lancashire At

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Update: Feb 2015


Burscough Wharf - These buildings are at the back of the Library and face the main buildings of Burscogh Wharf across the canal.

Leeds - Liverpool Canal - Stop Line Number 14

In 1940, having retreated our troops from France, Britain feared invasion. To repel any attack the South Coast was heavily fortified - but what many do not realise was that the West coast of Lancashire also had anti-invasion defences built as it was feared that its flat beaches could be prone to an amphibious attack. While the flat inland areas were ideal for airbourne troops to land and so Stop Lines were built - like the one on the Leeds - Liverpool Canal - Stop Line Number 14. Our visit concentrated on what could be seen around the Burscough and Ormskirk area.

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Pillboxes are common sites along the canal - these are near Moss Bridge Lane (but some are well hidden in summer! - see Below Right).


Top Right: We thought theses were Anti-tank posts originally as we have seen others similar elsewhere. However, we received correspondence from Ian at  and he said: " I believe the holes are for anti-tank mines. There's a number of locations in the south of England that are similar and were designed to take the Mark V anti-tank mine." Our thanks to Ian for this information.

These ones are found on Back Lane would have been in place to prevent vehicles crossing the bridge.

LEFT: The Farmer's Arms at the crossing of New Lane has an unusual feature (now partly obscured by a new dining area) - a 'defended tower' with loopholes on two levels. This appears to have been an addition to the building rather than an adaptation of the existing building.

LEFT: At Crabtree Bridge is this former stable block attached to the Slipway pub.


It features EIGHT loopholes on two storeys across three sides of the building!

LEFT: A fortified house. We love the fact that the owners haven't removed these loopholes on the First Floor. But they have double glazed them! What a unique home.

Left and Below: A Block House or Pillbox Tower in the grounds of Heaton's Bridge Inn.

Be polite and buy a drink if you go - and enjoy the unusual view in the beer garden.

Above Left: It's in the trees - honest! A rare brick built pillbox near Flex Lane (next to the boat, obscured by summer growth - we will return in winter).

Above Right: A fortified barn at Martin Lane Bridge - there are three loopholes (one is obscured by ivy). Indeed the ivy may hide further loopholes on other walls.


6 photos in all - Smithy Farm, Broad Lane, Downholland - an extremely defendable building! This barn has loopholes of different types on all sides.

Smithy Farm is derelict and has been for some years. We worry that it will soon be gone and this important wartime relic lost forever. Its loopholes overlook the canal and the farm itself.

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Below Left: a large embarsure just visible below the roof line.

Below Right: A much smaller one on the other side of the same building

Update November 2016.


We were contacted by John Davies who very kindly sent us some photos of Stop Line defences on the canal that we had not yet seen. Thanks again John.


His photos (which he owns the copyright for) show the following:


Two huge concrete blocks (anti-tank blocks) on Bridge No. 39.


Bridge No. 40 again with anti-tank blocks.


Bridge No. 41 with undergrowth hiding an anti-tank block and a railway bridge behind.

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These pages, all text and photographs, unless stated, are the copyright of The Brothers B. No reproduction is allowed in any form without prior written permission

The above sites are by no means ALL the sites visible on the Leeds - Liverpool Canal

associated with Stop Line Number 14. We will be returning to see more sites at some stage.


To see more sites and more information CLICK HERE for


and also THIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL REPORT on the canal WW2 sites near to Burscough


And don't forget OUR OWN PAGE on Burscough's WW2 Airfield - HMS Ringtail

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