Navigation on the River Douglas pre-dated the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. When the canal was built it replaced the Douglas between Wigan and Burscough. A new cut between the main line and the river at Sollom was built. Later the lock at Sollom was removed and a river lock built at Tarleton.
The Rufford Branch in places looks more like river than a man made channel, while the River Douglas has been canalised and is dead straight.