Improving connectivity in the southern Yorkshire Dales

In 2020, a towpath improvement scheme was completed on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal . This was funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, with match funding from Craven District Council.

Boats on the canal on a sunny day Towpath improvements on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The £2m project stretches 8.2km between Anchor Bridge (Gargrave) to Gawflat Swing Bridge (Skipton), and a further 3.5km between Bradley Swing Bridge (Bradley) and Warehouse Swing Bridge (Kildwick).

An important and attractive part of our network

Sean McGinley said: “This is an important and particularly attractive part of our network. Research shows that being by water makes people happier and healthier, so we’re delighted the improvements will make it more accessible for people to enjoy the canal.

“We’re grateful for the support of our partners, and to the public for their patience while work was carried out.”

Gravel being surfaced on towpath

A hugely important project

Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s Lead Member for Enterprising Craven, said: “This has been a hugely important project for the Council and for our residents. I’m delighted that it has been completed and the whole towpath between Kildwick and Gargrave has been upgraded.

“This allows people who may not previously have been able to enjoy the waterside and the countryside to do so, which is of great benefit to mental and physical health. The improved towpath also provides an accessible traffic-free route through the district for residents, workers and visitors as they go about their daily lives. I’m sure it will be very popular with residents and tourists.”

Important for communities to be connected

David Dickson, Chair of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board, said: “The LEP believes it’s important for communities to be connected and resilient places, as that promotes good economic growth. These extensive canal towpath improvements are delivering those aims, and we are pleased to have contributed £140,000, secured from the government’s Local Growth Fund, to support the work.”

The Craven Towpath project also includes a series of waymarking improvements 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 has been resurfaced with a naturally occurring limestone material to create a durable and compact surface, chosen to be in keeping with the rural area. The path has also been 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. 

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

Last date edited: 10 February 2021