The Leeds/Liverpool canal, Rufford branch, in winter, well and truly frozen. The Rufford branch gave access to the tidal river Douglas via a sea lock. This in turn gave access to Preston docks via the river Ribble, which, in the nineteenth century was one of the busiest ports in England. In the 1960,s Preston docks began to decline, due to the silting up of the Ribble. Trade was transferred to Liverpool, some 15 miles south. In the present day, Uk canals have seen a resurgence with leisure craft, and, with the cost of housing in Britain, many retired people now live on barges and travel the extent of the canal system.