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Garstang Cross and Market Place 239-25.jpg
Grid reference: SD495455
Location: 53°54’11"N, 2°46’1"W
Population: 4,074  (2001)
Post town: Preston
Postcode: PR3
Dialling code: 01995
Local Government
Council: Wyre
Wyre and Preston North

Garstang is a small town in Lancashire, ten miles north of the city of Preston and eleven miles south of Lancaster.

The name of Garstang is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Cherestanc.[1] Later recordings of the name include Geresteng, Grestein, 1204; Gayrestan, 1236; Gayerstang, 1246; Gayrstang, 1274; Gayrestang, 1292.[2] It has been suggested as a Norse name, though it could just as well be Old English, either etymology suggesting "spearshaft".


Garstang stands on the banks of the River Wyre and on the Lancaster Canal, It is close to the A6 road, the M6 motorway, and the West Coast Main Line, the railway line between Lancaster and Preston. It is on the eastern edge of the Fylde, and the Forest of Bowland is not far to the east.

Garstang and the nearby villages of Bonds, Bowgreave and Catterall form an almost continuous built-up area, bypassed by the A6 road in 1926.[3]


A brief but comprehensive history of the parish, including the parish church of St Helen in Churchtown and Greenhalgh Castle can be found in "The Parish of Garstang", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7.[4]

King Charles II is alleged to have spent the night in a town centre pub, the Royal Oak, during the Civil War.

St. John Plessington was born at Dimples Hall, which is just outside the town.

Garstang was once served by Garstang and Catterall railway station which closed in 1969, and Garstang Town railway station which closed to passengers in 1930.

The town is overlooked by the ruined remains of Greenhalgh Castle, built in 1490 by Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby.

The town

The town hall from High Street
The market cross and Royal Oak Hotel
Greenhalgh Castle

The town celebrates an arts festival and an agricultural show every year in August.

In April 2000 Garstang declared itself "the world's first Fairtrade Town", influencing many other towns, cities and counties around the United Kingdom to work towards the same goal.[5]

In 2011 a 518 ft wind turbine, the UK's largest, was built in the town to provide power for a local factory producing the award winning Garstang Blue cheese.[6][7]

The local newspaper, the Garstang Courier, is available on tape free of charge to blind and partially sighted people from Galloway's Society for the Blind.

Following success in winning the Small Country Town category in the 2002 Britain in Bloom Awards, Garstang won the Small Town category in the 2005 [8] and 2010 Awards.

The town has nine pubs: The Bell and Bottle (formerly the Farmers' Arms), the Crown, the Eagle and Child, the King's Arms, the Royal Oak, the Wheatsheaf, Th'Owd Tithe Barn, the Church Inn and The Bellflower (formerly the Flag). It has three restaurants: Pipers, Ken Ma and The Great Season, the latter two being Chinese restaurants. There is also a Golf Club and Country Hotel and the Crofter's Hotel, on the main A6 road.

Garstang is referenced in episode 5 of the first series of the comedy Phoenix Nights. Brian Potter (played by Peter Kay) said "What have you called us? What have you called the best cabaret lounge this side of Garstang?" in reference to an alternative comedy night being run at his fictional club.


  • Church of England:
    • St Thomas
    • St Helen's, 2 miles away in Churchtown: the parish church until 1881
  • Roman Catholic: St Mary and St Michael (outside the town in Bonds)

Outside links


  1. "Lancashire A-L". The Domesday Book Online. Retrieved 22 January 2011. 
  2. (1912) "Townships: Garstang" - A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, pp. 311-313. Retrieved on 2007-10-25
  3. Greenall, R. (2007), Garstang Past, At Heart Ltd, Altrincham, ISBN 978-1-84547-137-8, p.52
  4. (1912) "The parish of Garstang" - A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, pp. 291-300. Date accessed: 26 October 2007
  5. Fairtrade Foundation. "About Fairtrade Towns". Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  6. The Daily Telegraph (1 May 2009). "Cheesemaker to use biggest windturbine in UK to power factory". London. Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  7. The Garstang Courier. "Garstang cheese firm wins hat trick of food awards". Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  8. RHS. "Britain in Bloom 2005 Winners". Retrieved 30 August 2007.