Skipton canal towpath works are set to start along Broughton Road
Work to improve the canal towpath in Skipton from Gawflat swing bridge, near Aireville Park, to Niffany swing bridge is to start from February 21st.
This stretch, which runs parallel to Broughton Road, will be closed until around March 25th as part of the £2 million project to improve the canal towpath surface from Gargrave to Kildwick.
The funding to enable improvement of this particular stretch of towpath was secured by Craven District Council from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership. Additional funding was secured by the Canal & River Trust, the waterways and wellbeing charity that cares for the canal, from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development along with further support from Craven District Council.
When complete, this stretch of towpath, which will be wider than the rest of the scheme, will provide a traffic free route to local schools, the railway station and the town centre through the Skipton Canal Waterfront scheme recently delivered by Craven District Council.
Luke Edwards, project manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “We know a lot of residents and walkers use this stretch of towpath, so while we apologise for the inconvenience during the work, it will vastly improve the surface and access to the canal for all users.
“One of our key goals as a charity is to encourage more people to enjoy our towpaths – they are great places to relax and take time out – so it’s a project that will be of huge benefit to the community.
“We are making every effort to reduce inconvenience and disruption, but this short closure is necessary. People can check our website for up-to-date details on the closed sections.”
Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s lead member for Enterprising Craven, said: “I’m delighted to see the work start on this stretch of the canal towpath along Broughton Road. I know residents have been very keen to see these improvements and will be eager to see this work completed. When the whole project is finished, residents and visitors will all benefit from a fantastic new towpath which will run all the way from Kildwick to Gargrave, making the canal and the countryside more accessible to everybody.”
The scheme received £140,000 secured by the Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
David Dickson, Chair of the Infrastructure Board at York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be working with Craven District Council, the Canal & River Trust and their partners, as this scheme is a real example of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s commitment to our ‘places’. Improving our towns and developing their infrastructure provides tangible benefits for residents, communities, visitors and businesses as in this case, which will improve connectivity between the station and business sites across the town.”
In total, the project will see more than 11km of the towpath in Craven improved, as identified in the Access Development Plan commissioned by Craven District Council and written by Sustrans, to improve accessibility along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the District.
The towpath is being resurfaced with a natural limestone material which creates a durable and compact surface. It will be widened at key hotspots, including Gargrave and Broughton Road, to provide better access to and from Skipton railway station and employment sites in the town.
There will also be new ‘welcome’ and information boards about key points of interest and visitor facilities in and around the canal, and additional waymarking signage to help people find their way onto the waterway. A new canoe portage point in Gargrave will help paddlers get onto the water and enjoy England’s first coast-to-coast canoe trail.
To check which section of towpath will be closed, visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices selecting Leeds & Liverpool Canal. All the works are listed as “Craven Towpath Improvement”.
For a free guide to days out on your local canal and how you can help support it visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/local-to-you