Walkers and cyclists can now enjoy a green, traffic-free route right into the heart of Coventry city centre thanks to a £470,000 project to improve the Coventry Canal towpath.
The path was officially opened on Friday 22May with Councillor Rachel Lancaster joining staff from the Canal & River Trust in saddling up and trying the route for themselves.
The project, which has seen a 2.5km stretch of towpath between Coventry Canal basin and Stoke Heath resurfaced and made wider, gives people the opportunity to get close to nature and explore their local history whilst making their way into the city for work, school or to hit the shops.
The new all-weather path links with a previously improved section of towpath from Hawkesbury Junction into the city, in total offering an 8km route through the city. The improvements extend from Bridge 1 at Draper’s Fields to Bridge 4 at Stoney Stanton Road and include the section of towpath around the Barratt Homes development at Electric Wharf.
The project, which forms one of a number of cycle-routes into the city, has been carried out in partnership between the Canal & River Trust, Coventry City Council and Centro with support from Barratt Homes. It’s part of the £7 million Cycle Coventry project which aims to help connect residents to employment, education and training by providing improved cycle routes and infrastructure.
Councillor Rachel Lancaster, Cabinet Member for Public Services, said: “It’s now easier to enjoy Coventry’s canal, whether you choose to walk or use your bike. We’re hoping that even more people will use it as a regular, off road path to get to get around the city. If you want to come and try the canal towpath for yourself, you could join one of this summer’s Sky Ride Local guided bike rides which go along the canal.”
Charlotte Atkins, chair of the Trust’s Central Shires waterway partnership, said; “It’s fantastic to see the new path open and available for people to enjoy. What could be better as you make your way to work or the shops than taking a fresh perspective of the city, enjoying the fresh air, seeing the wildlife around you and exploring your local heritage?
“The canal is a wonderful place for the local community to escape to and hopefully this project will provide a real boost, enabling more people to discover what’s on their doorstep.”
Centro chairman, Cllr John McNicholas, said: “The improvements which will be brought to this city through the Cycle Coventry project will help to cut the congestion on our roads and give people real options about the way they travel.
“Being able to open this improved route gives me all the more pleasure because of the canals’ significance to this city’s history.”
John Dillon, Managing Director of Barratt Homes North Midlands, said, “We offered the Canal & River Trust access to our compound at City Wharf, as it made it easier for them to work on the towpath. We’ll be providing landscaping on the path alongside City Wharf as it continues to grow, and the whole stretch of canal should offer fantastic views to residents once complete.”