Tucked away on the Lancashire coast, just 4 miles or so from the centre of the medieval city of Lancaster (following the A588 towards Cockerham) is one of the county’s ‘hidden gems’. Where the sea meets land and the fresh waters of the lovely Lancaster canal meet the salt waters of the sea, is Glasson Dock.
Also known as the Port of Lancaster, Glasson Dock is a working conservation area too few know about. Some say that’s no bad thing, as it helps keep this little treasure safe from the worst impacts of commercialism and tourism. It truly is a tiny time-warped place, where old-fashioned values of friendship, family and care for the community comes first.
In its heyday Glasson Dock was served by a rail link to Lancaster, primarily for the transportation of goods to and from the dock. This now forms part of the Lancashire Way, a foot and cycle path running alongside the mighty river Lune from Glasson Dock to Barrow-in-Furness, via Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and beyond. Over 60 miles of dedicated track.
Much of the industry that helped this little community thrive, has gone. At one time, it was served by 3 size able public houses. Now only the Dalton Arms Inn tucked away at the end of West Quay remains, serving drinks and good wholesome cuisine.
West Quay is also home to the Lantern O’er Lune cafe, a coffe house under construction and Glasson Dock’s very own ‘little gem’, The Shop at Glasson Dock.
The Shop at Glasson Dock is no ordinary shop. Primarily a village store, The Shop at Glasson Dock has in recent years earned its place in the hearts of many walkers, cyclists, motorbikers and boaters, as the ‘go to place’ for some of the best bacon butties, freshly made sandwiches, cakes and the belly-busting ‘Dock Burger’.
Takeaway treats of Rijo coffee, made to order fast food, award-winning ice creams and a tasty selection of old-fashioned sweets, can be enjoyed on what is affectionately known as ‘the deck by the dock’. This outdoor seating area overlooks the dock; the village green; and gives a great vantage point for watching the sea-faring folk move their boats from the Glasson basin (the freshwater end of the Lancaster canal) through first a lock joining the ‘Lanky’ – as the canal is known – to the actual dock, then onwards through a mechanized sea gate out towards the Irish Sea.
By day the ‘deck by the dock’ at The Shop at Glasson Dock, sees locals and visitors alike enjoying time together. By night, the deck hosts casual callers who just want to catch up with each other and ‘put the world to rights’. With the exception of late night shop opening (all year round) on every Wednesday, that is!
What started as a small gathering of regular ‘bikers’ meeting to have a coffee and cake, has morphed into the village’s celebrated ‘specials’ night enjoyed by locals, bikers, boaters, walkers, cyclists and folk from nearby villages. Each week a different selection of hot takeaway meals are available, in addition to the fare ordinarily on offer. All dishes (including county favourites like Lancashire HotPot, pies with peas, curries with cabbage…only joking about that!) are homemade locally. Lest anyone wonders, The Shop at Glasson Dock has a 5* rating from Lancaster City Council – no mean fete to achieve.
Besides the fine foods, ice creams, newspapers and such like, The Shop at Glasson Dock has a colourful and varied range of locally produced craft gifts and it’s very own resident artist – the very talented ‘Hidden Dragonfly’ – who is happy to take commissions for your best-friend’s face painted in water colours. Dog, cat, pig or cow, she minds not who or what they are as long as they aren’t human!
The Shop at Glasson Dock is not only ‘the’ shop at Glasson Dock, it’s the hub of the community for residents and visitors alike.