Published Thursday, 16 July 2020
Coventry City Council working in partnership with the charity, Canal & River Trust, has started a project to improve the towpath along the Coventry Canal to improve the popular waterway.
The project will see the towpath improved from Leicester Causeway to Sutton Stop. It builds on earlier improvements from the Canal Basin to Leicester Causeway and means that local people can have easy access to the canal throughout the year.
Once finished the improvement will create a safe, green and easy accessible traffic free route into the city. The towpath will be temporarily closed in phases, allowing for work to go ahead without a total closure and meaning people can still enjoy the open parts of the route while work is ongoing. The first closure will begin on 20 July, beginning near Hawkesbury, which will last for one month.
A recent survey by the West Midlands Combined Authority found a 40 per cent increase in cycling to work and walking to shops in Coventry during the recent lockdown period, with 17% expecting to cycle more and 47% expecting to walk more than they did before Covid-19.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “During the last few months we’ve seen more and more people take up cycling and more and more people enjoy walking in their local area. We are really lucky to have the canal running through the city and once we have resurfaced the towpath and widened it in sections it will make a great walking and cycling route.
“We will also be improving access along the route so people who live close can get to it really easily. We lead lots of big schemes but often it’s the simple changes like this that make a real difference.”
Councillor Patricia Hetherton, cabinet member for city services, said: “It’s lovely to see so many people have taken an interest in more outdoor exercise, and this will make a perfect spot for those wanting to enjoy a bit of nature and some fresh air!”
The improvements will be completed ahead of Coventry being City of Culture in 2021 and ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Russell Poulton, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Coventry Canal is a really beautiful stretch of waterway and these towpath improvements will mean you can visit the canal throughout the year.
“Improving access to our waterways is one of the ways we are trying to get people more active and out on the canal. Research shows that being next to water improves your mental and physical health and I can’t think of a better place to be than on the Coventry Canal exploring our canal wildlife and heritage.”