Bathwick towpath reopens

Volunteers repairing the ramp at Bathwick Bridge

Good to hear that the Bathwick towpath has reopened following the completion of major repairs by The Canal & River Trust and their hard-working volunteers. It will make this popular route safer and more pleasant for walkers, cyclists and boaters. 

The work to reinstate 320 metres of badly eroded bank, address bank collapse and create new habitats for wildlife has been carried out between Cleveland House and Bathwick Hill. Mooring conditions have also been improved, the path resurfaced, and conservation and improvement work carried out on the ramp to the historic Grade II listed Bathwick Bridge.

Morgan Cowles, Canal & River Trust heritage and environment manager, said: “This is an important route into the city so we are pleased to now be able to re-open it. We are grateful for the hard work of all the volunteers who have been helping to conserve and repair part of the historic waterways built environment which adds so much to the special character of the World Heritage Site of Bath which attracts so many tourists every year.”

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

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “At a time when we’re promoting more active travel I’ve no doubt the improvements made to the towpath will encourage more people to walk and cycle to and from the city centre along this picturesque route.

“It took significant local fundraising efforts and six successful funding bids to make this project happen and I want to thank all the volunteers who gave up their precious time to carry out the work, they’ve done a fantastic job.”

The project was delivered with support from local volunteers from the Bath Towpath Taskforce, who each year contribute over 4,000 hours to looking after waterways in the Bath area.

The canal towpath project included the following works:

  • The installation of piling and planted coir roll to edge the canal and encourage wildlife. Large stones were added to support a range of bankside vegetation and provide new habits for wildlife to thrive. 
  • The construction of a new 1.8m wide towpath with an all-weather surface that will now divert the natural springs, which previously ran across the path directly into the canal. 
  • Safety improvements to the historic ramp at Bathwick Hill including a new `slip /trip free` resin bound path and handrail, and repairs to conserve the original stone cobbled ramp surfaces.

Paula Spiers, Avon Frome Partnership Coordinator, said: “I’m delighted we were able to support the Bathwick Towpath Improvement Scheme.  It’s a lovely stretch of waterway and the fantastic work carried out by the volunteers 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.”