Work starts on Oxford Canal towpath improvements thanks to Growth Deal funding

Work to improve the Oxford Canal towpath has begun.

The Canal and River Trust in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council has started work on a section of route from Aristotle Lane to Godstow Road.

The project aims to upgrade approximately 2.3km of towpath and is being funded by the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal to a value of around £750k.

This upgrade is a key route into the city centre with lots of links to residential areas, schools, university and green spaces. It is a very popular area for boaters with a range of moorings.

Tackling a narrow and rough route

The towpath is narrow in places and currently has an unbound, uneven surface. It becomes extremely muddy and puddled, particularly during the winter months. As partners work to maximise the benefits of the waterways across Oxford city, these surface improvements assist in responding to the potential growth in use of the canal towpath in all seasons, support sustainable transport options and improves the access to the area for all and encourages increased use of the canal for health, leisure and by visitors to the city.

The work will widen the towpath to up to two metres where possible and upgrade the surface to a hard-wearing surface that can be used all year around. Additionally, it will provide some environmental improvements within the canal conservation areas, which will also help bank protection as part of this project. Overhanging vegetation will also be cut back and the completed work will make sure that the path will be useable all year round.

The works extend the previously successful scheme from Isis Lock to Aristotle Lane, which was completed in 2014.

There is a short time window for carrying out the improvements, for weather and nature conservation reasons. Most of the activity is expected to be completed by the 31st January. The Canal and River Trust will keep local people and towpath users informed about any towpath closures over the period.

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