The Canal & River Trust, working in partnership with Staffordshire County Council and the National Trust, is to improve the towpath along the Trent & Mersey Canal.
The work is being part-funded by a grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Rural Tourism Infrastructure programme and involves improving the towpath between Iron Bridge and the Trent Aqueduct in Great Haywood – a distance of 600 metres.
Starting on May 24, the six-week project will involve resurfacing and widening the towpath in places, to create a pothole-free, green route that local people can use to commute to work and school, enjoy a leisurely stroll, go for a run or simply to enjoy the canal.
The footpath connecting the canal to the Shugborough Estate will also be improved enabling visitors’ easy access to the National Trust site.
During the works the towpath will be closed and a signed diversion route in place. The canal will remain open for boating, but the moorings for visiting boats along the stretch will be suspended.
Adnan Saif, regional director for West Midlands at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Its fantastic news we’ve managed to secure funding to improve the towpath along this part of the Trent & Mersey Canal. The section of towpath is popular for walking and cycling so improving it will mean visitors and local people can easily explore Staffordshire’s canals and the nearby National Trust estate.
“Research shows that being next to water makes you feel happier and healthier and once this towpath is finished I hope local people can enjoy being next to water all year round.”
Helen Royall, from National Trust, said: “We are excited to be working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust to make improvements to the towpath for cyclists and walkers. This will enable local people to enjoy being next to water all year round, and also to improve the access to and through the Shugborough Estate.”
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, David Williams, said: “Staffordshire’s canal network is a real asset to the county, providing hugely enjoyable routes for walkers and cyclists and attracting visitors. It’s vital that we work with our partners in continuing to improve the towpaths as they also provide sustainable travel options for our residents and encourage healthy lifestyles.
“The pandemic has certainly highlighted the importance of being outdoors and we look forward to working with the Trust in future on other projects to encourage even greater use.”
For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust including how you can donate money or volunteer your time visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk