Towpath upgrade underway.

Major repairs are now underway to improve the canal towpath between Cleveland House and Bathwick Hill.

The Canal and River Trust aim to reinstate 320 metres of badly eroded bank, shore-up collapsed banks and create new habitats for wildlife.

As part of the project, a path will be resurfaced and mooring conditions and heritage improvements carried out at Bathwick Hill Bridge. The aim is to make the popular route safer and more pleasant for walkers, cyclists and boaters.

The work is being undertaken with support from local volunteers from the Bath Towpath Taskforce, who each year contribute more than 4,000 hours to looking after waterways in the Bath area.

The project is one of 35 design ideas to improve Bath’s waterways identified as part of the WaterSpace Bath project. The WaterSpace partnership worked with the Canal & River Trust’s fundraising team to secure funding contributions from the Bath City Forum, Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Avon Frome Partnership, Wessex Water and World Heritage Small Grants Fund.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services said: “I am delighted to see this project go ahead. It has taken significant local fundraising efforts and six successful funding bids to make it happen. We are committed to improving green routes and supporting active lifestyles and many local people will benefit from this investment.”

Mike Youe Enterprise Manager for the Canal & River Trust Wales and the SW said: “This work would not be taking place were it not for the generosity of organisations and individuals. Their money, and their time, means that it will soon be easier for people to safely enjoy their time by the waterside, whatever the weather. And wildlife will benefit too.”

The canal towpath project includes the following works:

  • Piling will be installed and driven below the waterline where a planted coir roll will edge the canal. The banks will then be back filled with large stones and dredging’s to support a range of bankside vegetation and provide numerous habits for wildlife to thrive.
  • The second phase of the project will see a new 1.8 wide towpath constructed with a surface that will be fit for purpose in all weathers. The natural springs that currently run across the towpath will be diverted underneath, discharging directly into the canal.
  • Safety improvements at the cobbled historic ramp at Bathwick Hill will be carried out and will include a new handrail and repairs to historic stonework.

Councillor Colin Blackburn, Chair of the Bath City Forum, said: “I am pleased that The Bath City Forum were able to recommend a neighbourhood CIL funding award to the Bathwick Towpath Improvement Scheme. This project will encourage more people to walk and cycle to and from the city centre and that demand will only increase with the new residential developments nearly.”

Paula Spiers, Avon Frome Partnership Coordinator, said:  “We are delighted to support the Bathwick Towpath Improvement Scheme, which will ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy the benefits this attractive, well-used route has to offer, including fresh air, exercise and contact with nature”.