Canal towpath improvments in progress at Shardlow, 13th January 2021. Photo Copyright Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust) 2021

Feature

Canal Access

Towpath Improvments on the Trent and Mersey Canal




 

 

A project to revamp the towpath along the Trent and Mersey Canal making it easier for people in Derbyshire and East Staffordshire to feel the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time by the water, has just been completed.

The work is being carried out by waterways and wellbeing charity, the Canal and River Trust, as part of the Transforming the Trent Valley - a National Heritage Lottery Funded Landscape Partnership Scheme. Transforming the Trent Valley, which is led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, sees 18 organisations work together to restore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Trent Valley.

With research showing that time spent by water can help us to feel happier and healthier, and with more people looking for a local escape on their doorstep, the works to improve popular stretches of towpath will provide a timely boost for local communities. The improvements have transformed muddy stretches of towpath, making them suitable for use all year round by people on foot or bike as well as those with wheelchairs or buggies.

The towpath has provided a vital lifeline for so many people over the past year, giving them a place to clear their heads and stretch their legs.

Alan Leather, Enterprise Manager, Canal and River Trust

 Canal & River Trust

 

The most recent, and final, phase has involved widening and resurfacing the towpath around the historic canal village at Shardlow, between Wilne Lane Bridge and Shardlow Lock. The new path is wider and more even, making it easier for walkers and cyclists as well as boaters who want to access important services such as the local water point. Importantly the revamped route means that local people can now avoid crossing the busy London Road more easily.

Previous phases of the project have seen 5km of towpath upgraded at Willington, Fradley and Rugeley with key access points also improved making it easier for people to get onto their local towpath. Later in the year there are plans in place to improve signage at key points along the canal as well as creating special portage points for canoeists to get into and out of the water.

Alan Leather, enterprise manager for the Canal and River Trust, said; “The Trent and Mersey Canal in Derbyshire and East Staffordshire is a real gem. By working in Partnership with Staffordshire County Council and through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and financial contributions associated with developments in Lichfield District Council and Cannock Chase District Council areas we have managed to make great improvements that will make an immediate difference for local communities as well as visiting boaters.

“The towpath has provided a vital lifeline for so many people over the past year, giving them a place to clear their heads and stretch their legs. It’s great that, through the Transforming The Trent Valley scheme, we’ve been able to make improvements so that more people can feel those benefits for themselves all year round.

Towpath improvements at Shardlow on the Trent and Mersey Canal

25th April 2021
Photo © 2021 Transforming the Trent Valley (Steven Cheshire)














 

Canal Access: Upgrading the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal for multiple users.

The 250-year-old Trent and Mersey Canal provides the historic and cultural spine to the Trent Valley. Improvements to surfacing, signage and access for walkers, cyclists, canoeists and boaters will reconnect communities with both this historic environment and the wider landscape.

This access improvement project is providing an upgrade to sections of the towpath that have been highlighted through our development phase Access Audit for Transforming the Trent Valley. These improvements will be to the benefit of multiple users including people with disabilities, walkers, cyclists and anglers.

Fradley Junction Trent and Mersey Canal

Canal towpath resurfacing at Fradley Junction

Canal towpath works begin at Fradley Junction, 20th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath works begin at Fradley Junction, 20th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath works completed at Fradley Junction, 20th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath works completed at Fradley Junction, 20th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Rugeley and Brereton Trent and Mersey Canal

Canal towpath resurfacing at Rugeley and Brereton.

Canal towpath improvements at Rugeley and Brereton, 2nd September 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath improvements at Rugeley and Brereton, 2nd September 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath improvements at Rugeley and Brereton, 2nd September 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath improvements at Rugeley and Brereton, 2nd September 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Willington Trent and Mersey Canal

Canal towpath resurfacing at Willington.


Canal towpath works in progress at Willington, 14th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath works in progress at Willington, 14th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath works completed at Willington, 14th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath works completed at Willington, 14th November 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Shardlow Trent and Mersey Canal

Widening and resurfacing the towpath around the historic canal village at Shardlow, between Wilne Lane Bridge and Shardlow Lock.

Canal towpath before works began at Shardlow, 2nd December 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath before works began at Shardlow, 2nd December 2020. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath improvements completed at Shardlow, 1st February 2021. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Canal towpath improvements completed at Shardlow, 1st February 2021. Photo © 2021 Alan Leather (Canal and River Trust).

Towpath improvements at Fradley Junction on the Trent and Mersey Canal

7th January 2021
Photo © 2021 Transforming the Trent Valley (Steven Cheshire)