Leighton Buzzard canal towpath ready for official reopening after £500k improvements

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A £500,000 towpath improvement project along the Grand Union Canal in Leighton Buzzard has been completed with the towpath set to be officially reopened tomorrow (Friday, August 26).

The work has been undertaken by national waterways and wellbeing charity the Canal & River Trust, in partnership with national walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

Sustrans received funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) in response to the ‘Paths for Everyone’ review of the National Cycle Network in 2019.

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The works, which have been carried out by the Canal & River Trust’s engineering contractor Kier, has resurfaced and widened a 780-metre section of towpath running south from the B4032 Leighton Road Bridge 114 to Bridge 115A (Mentmore Gardens). The project also improved a 2.1km section running north from Lock 27 (Leighton Lock) to Bridge 110 (Sandhole Bridge) in Old Linslade. Here there were some surfacing improvements and vegetation management.

The Grand Union Canal, Leighton Buzzard.The Grand Union Canal, Leighton Buzzard.
The Grand Union Canal, Leighton Buzzard.
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The towpath in Leighton Buzzard forms part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network ‘Paths for Everyone’, which aims to deliver a traffic-free, more consistent and accessible network for everyone, including walkers, cyclists, families and people with mobility requirements.

The project built on previous towpath improvements undertaken by the Trust in Leighton Buzzard in 2015, between Leighton Road and Leighton Lock. It has added a further 2.9km of improved towpath, resulting in a 4.1km stretch of continuous high quality towpath through Leighton Buzzard and surrounding areas.

Ros Daniels, the Canal & River Trust’s director for London & South East, said: “Canal & River Trust ecologists and heritage advisers have been involved in the design of the works to ensure the works are sensitive to local wildlife and heritage structures, making enhancements where possible, including hedge laying, vegetation and tree management. The towpath engineering works are now complete, and with the help of volunteers, we have removed invasive Himalayan Balsam from the side ponds at Leighton Lock.”

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To find out more about the improvements and canal care volunteering opportunities see here, call the Canal & River Trust on 03030 404040 or email [email protected]

For more information on Canal & River Trust including how you can donate money or volunteer to support our work visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk