Before the industrial revolution, transport around Lightshaw Meadows was very different to today. Dirt roads were in a poor condition with no proper surfacing and potholes filled in with stones. The need to transport coal from the collieries in and around Lightshaw Meadows led to the development of the canals and railways.
The industrial revolution came to Wigan and Leigh during the end of the 18th century. With coal mining and the textile industry rapidly growing, traders looked for more efficient and cheaper routes to transport supplies and manufactured goods. Initially, part of the river Douglas was made navigable by boats. When this became unsatisfactory, and following the arrival of the Bridgewater Canal, the idea of a Leeds and Liverpool Canal was conceived. Later the Bolton to Leigh Railway came to the area, further improving transport links for local industry.