We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.


The Trust’s London towpaths are more popular and being enjoyed more than ever before. We are transforming over 16 miles of towpath between Paddington and West Drayton, working in partnership with Transport for London under the Quietways programme.

People on the towpath

Building on previous improvements between Paddington and West Drayton, we will be providing:

  • better quality surfaces
  • wider paths
  • improved access points
  • new signs

The work will bring huge benefits to everyone visiting and enjoying West London canals.

Why we’re doing this

In 2014, we asked people about how towpaths across England & Wales should be improved and received a huge response. Three priorities emerged, now forming our Better Towpaths Policy

  • better infrastructure (such as improved towpaths and access to them)
  • better signs
  • better behaviours from everyone

We’re already delivering better signs across all 2,000 miles of towpaths and our ‘Share the Space, Drop Your Pace’ behaviour campaign is now established nationally as a way to encourage good behaviour and respect for all when enjoying the waterways.

We painted duck lanes on towpaths across England and Wales to highlight the narrow space available for everyone – and every duck – to share.

Duck lanes painted on the towpaths in London

We also introduced special polite zones for people to embrace good old-fashioned manners across the busiest stretches of towpaths, encouraging people to ‘smile and say hi as you go by’ and to remember that they are entering ‘a hat tipping zone’, a nod to times past when people tipped their hats or doffed their caps as a sign of respect or merely as a greeting.

Better infrastructure between Paddington and West Drayton

The improvement work will be undertaken from the end of 2016 through to 2018 in phases, starting between Ladbroke Grove and Old Oak Lane and finishing at West Drayton.

Trimming hedges and trees has started along the route to prepare the way for surfacing improvements.

Click here to see an overview of the works - Improvement overview , and for more detailed information click here - Detailed map  

Come and meet us, find out more and give us your feedback

Our floating visitor centre ‘Jena’ will be travelling along the canal this October half-term – do come along to our open drop-in sessions to learn more about the proposed improvements and the benefits they will bring and give us your feedback!

Meet the Trust's project team, discuss your local canal area and find out how you can get involved – you might be part of a community group wanting to create a towpath garden, to adopt a stretch of towpath or even to volunteer for the Trust.

Jena will be moored on the towpath at the following places – do join us! Please see our event information here: Better towpaths for everyone 23 - 29 October

Some initial works will be starting in November, lasting around 3 months, on the 2km section between Old Oak Lane and the gasworks towers at Ladbroke Grove. This towpath currently has varying surfaces which will be upgraded to provide a smoother, wider and more level surface along its length. In preparation, vegetation works will be taking place to cut back hedges and trees that are currently encroaching the existing towpath.

The canal will remain open to navigation during these works, but the towpath will need to be closed or narrowed in stages to enable the improvements. Diversion routes for pedestrians/cyclists will be in place if required and signed with information also provided on our website.

More project updates will be provided here through the course of the improvements.

For any queries or comments in the meantime, please contact: Quietway@canalrivertrust.org.uk


Quietways are being established by Transport for London (TfL), the London Boroughs, The Royal Parks and the Canal & River Trust to create a network of quiet cycle routes throughout London.

Quietways will link key destinations by following backstreet routes, parks, tree-lined streets and also our waterway towpaths. The routes will be quieter, low-traffic routes, creating a much improved environment for cyclists who want to travel at a more gentle pace.

A Quietway route is proposed along the Grand Union Canal between Paddington and West Drayton, bringing significant towpath improvements including better surfaces, wider paths, improved access points and more helpful signage, benefitting not only cyclists but the wide variety of visitors to our waterway.

To learn more about Transport for London’s Quietways programme across the Capital,visit:TFL Quietways

Last date edited: 21 October 2016