Towpath Improvements for the Grand Union Canal in Leighton Buzzard

Our towpath improvement project on the Grand Union Canal in Leighton Buzzard will provide a better path for people to access the health and wellbeing benefits of being by water.

Picture of a towpath Towpath improvements on the canal

The project builds on previous towpath improvements undertaken by us in Leighton Buzzard in 2015, between Leighton Road and Leighton Lock.

The project is being delivered in partnership with national walking and cycling charity Sustrans, who are custodians of the National Cycle Network. Sustrans received funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) in response to the ‘Paths For Everyone’ review of the National Cycle Network in 2019.

The towpath forms part of the National Cycle Network which aims to deliver a traffic-free, accessible network for everyone, including walkers, cyclists, families and people with mobility requirements.

Just over £500,000 of investment has been planned, adding a further 2.9km of improved towpath, resulting in a 4.1km stretch of continuous high-quality towpath through Leighton Buzzard and surrounding areas. This will be part of helping the nation's waterways to provide high quality off-road routes for walking, cycling and wheeling, and an important 'natural health service' across the country.

The improvements will start on 6 June and will be completed by September 2022.

Once complete we’ll be asking everyone to enjoy the new towpath considerately and to use the towpath according to our Towpath Code and you can read more about our Stay Kind Slow Down campaign.

Southern section towpath works

Southern section towpath works at Leighton Buzzard

The towpath south of Leighton Road currently has an unbound, uneven surface and is narrow in many places. This project will resurface and widen a 780-metre section of towpath running south from the B4032 Leighton Road to Bridge 115A footbridge (old railway), widening the towpath to between 1.8 and 2 metres, and using an all-weather surface that can be used all year round. A 50-metre-long raised walkway over a planned new towpath spill weir is being designed to ensure that people can still use the towpath in flood conditions. The southern section towpath closures will begin 6 June, reopening on 23 August. The towpath will temporarily reopen on Saturday 30 July, to allow access to the Linslade Canal Festival at Tiddenfoot Waterside Park 

Northern section towpath works

Northern section towpath works at Leighton Buzzard

North of Lock 27 (Leighton Lock) a 2,100-metre section to Bridge 110 (Sandhole Bridge) in Old Linslade will also be improved including surfacing improvements, vegetation trimming and biodiversity enhancements.

The timings and exact scope of this work has yet to be determined, no towpath closures will take place.

You can also get in touch with the team about the project by emailing: enquiries.londonsoutheast@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Please do check back on this web page for project updates. If you’d like to receive updates by email about the project or the Trust’s other activities please let us know.

Get involved

Our ecologists and heritage advisers are supporting the design of the improvements to ensure they are sensitive to local wildlife and heritage structures, making enhancements where possible, including hedge laying, vegetation and tree management.

Young person planting green spaces along our waterways Planting green spaces along our waterways

Please let us know if you or your organisation would like to get involved in some of the wildlife or heritage improvements with other volunteers, or even looking after them though a community adoption.

Last date edited: 24 May 2022