The towpath around Cheddleton on the Caldon Canal is set to receive a facelift as resurfacing work will soon start to create a smoother traffic-free route for the local walkers, cyclists and disabled visitors.
The ‘Connecting the Heritage’ project, will link two of the area’s most important and popular historic attractions, Churnet Valley Railway Station and Cheddleton Flint Mill, making it easier for wheelchair users and people with pushchairs to visit. The project will also see two wheelchair-friendly boat access points created at the Flint Mill, specially designed in conjunction with The Beatrice Charity.
The work, which will see around 1.2km of the Caldon Canal towpath between the Flint Mill and Basford Lane Bridge improved, is due to start on 18 February and expected to last for approximately eight weeks. New visitor moorings will also be created to enable boaters to stop and use the shops and other facilities providing a welcome boost to the local economy.
The £200,000 project is being part funded by the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) with additional funding being provided by the Communities Mean Business LEADER programme (part of the Rural Development Programme for England), the Canal & River Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The project has also benefitted from significant involvement of volunteers from the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust.
The towpath works have been designed following consultation with Cheddleton Parish Council, local residents, business operators as well as walkers, cyclists and boaters that use the canal. A common theme from the consultation was a desire for the canal towpath to be improved and made more accessible for a range of users.
Chris Bailey from the Canal & River Trust said: “As a partnership we’re delighted to have worked with the Parish Council and local residents to develop a project that will make the canal towpath more suitable for wheelchairs, bikes and pushchairs, giving local people a more enjoyable place to visit. Once complete the new towpath will make it much easier for people to enjoy the canal and see the beautiful Churnet Valley from a different perspective.”
The towpath will be closed while work takes place. An alternative route will be available on the opposite side of the canal using a footpath recently improved by the community with the support of the Parish Council and funding from the ‘Community Means Business’ LEADER programme, part of the Rural Development Programme for England.