The work will benefit walkers, cyclists and those with wheelchairs or buggies, and improve access to the water for boaters, as new bank protection is put in place along the canal. Bridge improvements are being made for pedestrians and cyclists, while a World War II pillbox on the route is being developed as a new habitat for bats.
The £1 million project is being funded by Sustrans Paths for Everyone programme which is supported by the Department for Transport. The programme is delivering transformative projects across England to make walking, wheeling and cycling safer and more accessible for everyone.
The 2.5km stretch of improvements begins at Aldermaston Wharf and heads eastwards along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Sulhamstead.
Connecting people and places
Mark Evans, our regional director, said: "These improvements will make it easier for us all to use this section of the canal and enjoy the benefits that being by water can bring for our physical and mental health.
"As a charity the Canal & River Trust benefits massively from support from partners such as Sustrans which enables us to continue looking after and improving these important green spaces. This is more vital than ever as we face the challenges of a changing climate on our 250-year-old canal network.
“Our towpaths connect people and places and need to be fit for purpose. This project will benefit the thousands of people who use this route on the canal for many years to come.”
Safe and accessible walking
Sarah Leeming, director for the south of England at Sustrans, said: "Creating safe and accessible walking, wheeling and cycling spaces helps so many people to leave the car at home. Time spent being active, surrounded by nature and fresh air, makes for happier and healthier everyday journeys.
“We're pleased to be working alongside the Canal & River Trust to upgrade this stretch of National Cycle Network Route 4 and make this a reality for more people. We're looking forward to seeing the improved route open and ready to welcome everyone soon.”