A section of historic canal towpath in Market Harborough has reopened after charity Canal & River Trust completed the latest phase of improvements which make it easier for people to access the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time at the Grand Union Canal.
The Trust, working in partnership with Sustrans and Harborough District Council, has improved a 2km length of the canal towpath in the town. This stretch will support active local travel and forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 6, which runs from London to the Peak District.
The towpath has been widened and is now puddle free and will be finished with a stone chip layer to give it a natural feel sympathetic to the canal surroundings. Works have also seen a busy mooring for visiting boats enhanced and water points improved.
The new path will be suitable for use all year round, including those with wheelchairs or buggies and those accessing the water for boating.
Funding for the £1,000,000 project has come from the Department for Transport through Sustrans’ Paths For Everyone programme, as well as a Section 106 contribution from the Wellington Place housing development through Harborough District Council. The final stone chip surface will be laid on the section of path between Union Wharf and Peter Callis Way in the Spring once the weather improves.
Alongside the path works the project also includes a programme of traditional hedgelaying to enhance habitats for a wide variety of wildlife. The hedgelaying will quickly form a thick bushy barrier that will provide an important wildlife corridor and source of food for birds, dormice and other small mammals.
Clare Maltby, Sustrans’ England Director Midlands and East, said: “It’s so exciting to see this great scheme coming to fruition. It will enable many people in the local area to enjoy a more accessible path. As custodians of the National Cycle Network, Sustrans owns just a small portion of the land it sits on, so we are working closely in partnership with organisations like the Canal & River Trust. Across the country, our Paths for Everyone programme is improving the Network, and this scheme brings us one step closer to a network that is safe and accessible for everyone. Schemes like this one in Market Harborough demonstrate the many benefits that investment in active travel can bring, and it’s vital that it continues.”
Information taken from press release from Canals & River Trust, working with Sustrans and Harborough District Council.
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