Built at the time of the Industrial Revolution, towpaths are now busier than ever, with walkers, cyclists, boaters, anglers and runners – not to mention the ducks and other creatures - all sharing the often narrow waterside paths.
Last year more than 400 million visits were made to the our towpaths alone and we're calling on visitors to help protect the special atmosphere which has made these spaces so popular.
Precious green spaces
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, explains: “For many people our towpaths are among their most precious green spaces, antidotes to the pace and stress of the modern world and places to relax and unwind. They are ‘super slow ways', providing a slice of peace and calm through the centres of our busiest cities.
“Today they are more popular than ever, with more investment in improvements and better signage, but with that success there are also problems, which is why we are calling on visitors to help make our canals preserves for old fashioned good manners! We can all help by slowing down and remembering we are all there to enjoy the space.”
Our towpath code ‘Better Towpaths for Everyone' was produced after consultation with more than 2,000 towpath visitors and interest groups. The top three issues raised were the need for improvements to the towpaths, better signage and better behaviour between visitors.
Last year we secured more than £8m of funding to improve over 30 miles of our towpaths, and we're planning a further £10m investment in the next 12 months.