A £2 million project to transform the Leeds & Liverpool Canal towpath between Skipton and Gargrave, and Bradley to Kildwick, has been given the go-ahead.
Following our bid which was supported by Craven District Council, funding of £1.46m from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) has been awarded to improve 11km of towpath.
In addition, Craven District Council has allocated up to £365,000 towards the scheme and the Trust have allocated £136,000 from its budget.
The project has been developed in partnership with the Craven District Council and Sustrans. The plan identifies a phased approach to improving accessibility along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal; providing a safer walking and cycling access into the Yorkshire Dales and making connections into neighbouring towns and villages.
This latest scheme will highlight the canal as a year-round gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, making it more accessible for local residents and enhancing the waterway as a visitor destination for walkers, cyclists, boaters and canoeists. Work is due to commence in 2019.
The announcement of this scheme builds on the 2016 Department for Transport-funded £450,000 scheme to improve the towpath between Skipton and Bradley.
Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s lead member for Enterprising Craven, said: “This project will be a huge benefit to our local communities and will also allow more visitors and businesses to make the most of the historic Leeds & Liverpool Canal. It will create a family-friendly route that balances the needs of modern day visitors against the 200-year heritage of the canal.”
Sean McGinley, regional director Yorkshire and North East at Canal & River Trust, added: “Our research reveals that spending time by water can give people a real boost, improving their physical health and mental wellbeing, so we’re delighted that this comprehensive improvement scheme has been funded and approved.
“Once complete, it will ensure locals and visitors can enjoy their local canal towpath throughout the year, whether that’s on the early morning dog walks, taking the kids for a weekend stroll, or cycling to work.”
As part of its contribution the District Council will fund a marketing programme to work with local businesses on how they can benefit from the scheme, and also work with regional tourism agencies to promote the canal and area to new visitors.