Devizes Running Club have given the new £226,000 towpath along the Kennet & Avon Canal in Devizes their seal of approval, with the revamped surface providing a green, traffic-free route through the heart of the town.
The project, carried out in partnership between the Canal & River Trust and Wiltshire Council, has seen a 700 metre stretch improved from London Road to Cemetery Bridge to provide people an ideal alternative to the busy main roads nearby.
The new path will be suitable for use in all weathers and is the first phase of three in a proposed project to improve towpath surfaces alongside the popular 200-year old canal.
Caroline Robson, development & engagement manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We already know that the towpath into Devizes is very popular, but this project will make it much easier and more enjoyable for people to use.
"Previously the towpath was showing signs of wear and tear, so it’s great to have a completely new surface. The canal is a fantastic place away from the busy roads to relax and unwind, as well as a handy route for travelling in and around Devizes, all with the added excitement of spotting a kingfisher now and again.”
Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways, said: “I am delighted we have been able to help fund this important project. The towpath is very well used by walkers and cyclists, and allows families to enjoy a safe, peaceful journey through some of Wiltshire’s beautiful countryside.”
Alan Stevens, chairman of Devizes Running Club, said: "We always look forward to the lighter evenings when we include the towpath in our club training sessions. We are so blessed to have such a peaceful, traffic-free environment on our doorstep. The wider and smoother surfaced towpath is very welcome and will make it easier for runners, walkers, cyclists and others to share the thoroughfare. We're particularly excited about the re-opening of the towpath since it forms part of our off-road race Roundway Rampage, which takes place on Saturday 26th September.”