A SECTION of historic canal towpath in Swarkestone has reopened after the Canal & River Trust completed the first phase of improvements.
These will make it easier for people to access the canal and to link the canal path to other connecting trails.
Working in partnership with Sustrans, CRT has improved 2.5km of the Trent & Mersey Canal towpath at Swarkestone in South Derbyshire. The towpath has been widened and is back open for people to use, although a final stone chip top surface will be laid in the spring as it requires warmer temperatures to bond with the base layer.
The canal is still used and navigated by boats hundreds of years after it was built. Its towpath also forms an important part of Route 6 of the National Cycle Network which connects London to the Peak District.
In addition, the towpath is a popular path locally, connecting the route north into Derby and south along the Cloud Trail into Worthington.
This £700,000 project is part of the Canal & River Trust’s ongoing work to protect and preserve the canal for boats and wildlife, and to make it easier for people to use all year round. Funding for the project has come from the Department for Transport through Sustrans’ Paths For Everyone programme.
With research showing that time spent by water can help people feel happier and healthier, and with more people looking for a local escape on their doorstep, the works make it easier and more appealing for people to get out and explore the local canals and other routes on their doorstep.
Alan Leather, partnerships manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s great that we’re able to reopen the towpath and make it easier for people to enjoy this beautiful stretch of canal.
“The works have gone well and we’ll be back in the spring to apply the final stone chip layer which will give the path a more natural feel. In the meantime, we hope people enjoy getting back out on their local canal.
“We’re very grateful to Sustrans for making these improvements possible. As a charity this kind of support is vital in our ongoing work to protect and preserve our historic waterways and avert the decline we saw last century.”
To find out about the work of the Canal & River Trust and how you can support the charity, either through volunteering or making a donation, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk