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 Cycleways (previously Quietways) programme.
Building on previous improvements between Paddington and West Drayton, we're providing:
The work will bring huge benefits to everyone visiting and enjoying West London canals.
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:
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.
We introduced special polite zones for people to embrace good old-fashioned manners across the busiest stretches of towpaths. The aim is to encourage 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.
We also enlisted the help of our very own sleeping policeman, Bobby, to remind everyone to take it slow and enjoy the towpath and allow others to do so safely too.
In 2016, we agreed a delivery programme of infrastructure improvements with, and funded by, Transport for London as part of the Cycleways (previously Quietways) programme.
We held a series of drop-in events on our floating visitor centre, 'Jena', for people to find out more about the proposed improvements and the benefits they will bring. See the exhibition boards about the project.
Following feedback from stakeholders, the design work was completed for the towpath and access improvements. See a detailed map of the changes.
The towpath improvements are underway and have been completed between Ladbroke Grove and Old Oak Lane, through Alperton, between Bull’s Bridge (Southall) and Greenford, and, with the help of Hillingdon Council, between Stockley Park and West Drayton. Access has also been improved at Oldfield Lane (Greenford), Bridport Road (Greenford), Ruislip Road (Southall) and Bankside (Southall).
Improvements are about to start on the towpath between Hayes and Stockley Park (see ‘Upcoming improvements’ below). The remaining improvements will be delivered through to 2021.
Find out how you can get involved in the project and looking after the West London Canals – love your canal and it will love you back! With help from Transport for London we'll be able to transform the towpath of the Grand Union Canal and Paddington Arm, but keeping it neat and tidy is down to the Trust - and we rely on YOUR help and support to do this.
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. There is more information about all of these opportunities in our volunteering section. If you have ideas about how you can help with Quietways, we’d love to hear from you. Please do email us at Quietway@canalrivertrust.org.uk
Due to coronavirus and associated restrictions on non-essential work, we have postponed the towpath and access improvements underway between Station Road in Hayes and Old Stockley Road near Stockley Park on the Grand Union Canal until further notice.
The towpath has been reopened in the interim period. We will resume the work to bring better towpaths to West London as soon as we are able and it is safe to do so.
Please check back for programme updates in due course.
Work is planned in various locations between Alperton and West Drayton on the Grand Union Canal and Paddington Arm in the next phase of the improvements during 2020. The towpath currently has gravel surfaces of varying widths which will be upgraded to provide a smoother, wider and more level surface along its length.
We will improve the towpath to provide a two-metre-wide surface between Station Road in Hayes and Old Stockley Road near Stockley Park on the Grand Union Canal. The access ramp at Printing House Lane will also be resurfaced and a new handrail installed.
The work will be rescheduled during 2020 when it is possible to do so. The canal will remain open to navigation during these works, but the towpath, access points and moorings will need to be closed in stages. Diversion routes for pedestrians and cyclists will be in place. Information on closure dates and diversions will be posted on our notifications page.
With the help of Hillingdon Council we will also provide a two-metre-wide surface between West Drayton (High Street Yiewsley) and Trout Road Yiewsley.
At the end of October 2019, the towpath from Alperton (Manor Farm Road) to Greenford Railway Bridge was opened with a new two-metre-wide surface. The towpath, access points and moorings will be closed again for approximately two weeks, to carry out the final surface dressing. Closure dates will again be posted on our notifications page. The canal will remain open to navigation during these works.
Portobello Dock access point (Ladbroke Grove) will be improved during 2020, with a brief period of closure and a short diversion route. Again, please refer to our notifications page.
The remaining improvements between Hayes and Bull’s Bridge and at Horton Bridge Road access will be carried out between 2020 and 2021.
More project updates will be provided here through the course of the improvements. If you have any queries or comments in the meantime, please email us at Quietway@canalrivertrust.org.uk
Cycleways are routes that link communities, businesses and destinations across London in one cycle network. They used to be called Cycle Superhighways and Quietways. Transport for London (TfL) and its partners are creating 450km of new Cycleways by 2024 so that more Londoners will live near the cycle network.
Quietways link key destinations by following backstreet routes, parks, tree-lined streets and also our waterway towpaths. They were established by TfL, the London Boroughs, The Royal Parks and the Canal & River Trust to create a network of quiet cycle routes throughout London. Quietways are being incorporated into the Cycleways network.
A Cycleway (Quietway) route is being provided along the Grand Union Canal between Paddington and West Drayton. This will bring 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. The route will provide a quieter, traffic-free route, creating a much-improved environment for cyclists who want to travel at a more gentle pace.
Learn more about Transport for London’s Cycleways programme across the capital.
Last date edited: 27 March 2020