Nearly 50 years ago the southern section of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal was saved from closure after it was restored by the National Trust.
It was reopened in 1964 by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, an event commemorated in verse by the then Poet Laureate John Betjeman. This popular waterway now stretches 25 miles from the heart of Birmingham to Shakespeare's home town of Stratford.
To help mark this major milestone, the towpath from Timothy's Bridge Road, at the Stratford Enterprise Park, to the Birmingham Road Bridge has been refurbished with a new all-weather surface. Access onto the canal has also been improved at Timothy's Bridge Road and at Bishopton Lane giving the local community easy access to their local waterway.
Lovely rural waterway
Costing £180,000, the project was funded by the Canal & River Trust and by Warwickshire County Council, using money from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and other sources. The project was also supported by cycling group Sustrans as it connects with the National Cycle Network which runs close to the canal.
Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the West Midlands Waterways Partnership said: “The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is a really lovely rural waterway and lovely great place to visit if you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle. These improvements will make the canal an even more popular choice for people wanting a safer, greener and more relaxing route into town, and for boaters visiting the area.”
Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning adds: “We are confident that these improvements to the towpath will help people to walk or cycle for some of their local journeys to work, the shops and other places around Stratford. The canal towpath can provide a pleasant and direct traffic-free option for getting around by bike or on foot.
"We're really lucky to have the canal run right through the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon, the waterways are a great link connecting communities. These improvements are just another way we are increasing people's choices of how they travel from A to B and encouraging them to use more sustainable means of transport.”