News article created on 2 July 2021

Towpath to be upgraded on the Shropshire Union Canal

We're set to improve the towpath along the Shropshire Union Canal at Market Drayton for the thousands of boaters and local people who use this section of canal every year.

Shropshire Union Canal, Market Drayton

The work is being part-funded by a grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Rural Tourism Infrastructure programme and involves improving the towpath between Victoria Wharf at Bridge 65 through to the Market Drayton Aqueduct.

The project

Starting on 12 July, the seven-week project will involve resurfacing and widening the towpath in places to create a rural green route that connects communities and allows local people and visitors to explore their local canal whatever the weather.

To carry out the work safely the towpath will initially be closed. As soon as is practically possible sections of the towpath will be reopened to provide access from the canal to the town nearby. During the work, the canal will remain open to boaters who will have supervised access to the visitor moorings and the customer services facilities. Overnight mooring will be permitted.

Making the towpath more accessible

Adnan Saif, our regional director for West Midlands, said: “The canal and towpath at Market Drayton is extremely popular but, when it’s wet, it can become slippery and a bit of a mud bath, making it inaccessible for local people, boaters and tourists wanting to explore this rural stretch of canal and the nearby town.

“Whilst we appreciate that doing this work over the summer isn’t ideal for boaters and local people, we do need to drier, warmer weather in order to carry out the work as quickly as possible whilst causing the least amount of disruption. We are aiming to keep sections of the towpath open during the works so that local people and visitors can still access nearby shops, pubs and restaurants.

“Our research shows that being next to water makes you feel happier and healthier and once this towpath is finished I hope local people can enjoy being next to water all year round.”

Improving our more rural towpaths

This towpath improvement is part of a wider package of works aimed at improving the towpath of rural canals in Shropshire and Staffordshire for boaters, local people and tourists visiting the area. Towpath improvements have already started along the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood with the next phase of improvements taking place on the Llangollen Canal at Lions Quay.