Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
9:48 AM 15th October 2019

£2m Craven Canal Project Progressing Well

Work in progress along the canal with the new limestone-based surface.
Work in progress along the canal with the new limestone-based surface.
The £2 million project to improve sections of the canal towpath from Skipton to Gargrave, and Bradley to Kildwick, is progressing well and will continue throughout the autumn and winter.

There will be temporary closures along sections of the canal towpath during the next few months while the refurbished towpaths are completed.

Canal & River Trust, the waterways and wellbeing charity that cares for the canal, has secured full funding for the project from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Additional funding has been provided by Craven District Council and the Government’s Local Growth Fund, awarded by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP).

The project will see more than 11km of the towpath in Craven improved, as identified in the Access Development Plan commissioned by Craven District Council and written by Sustrans, to improve accessibility along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the District.

Work on the stretch near Thorlby, north of the A59, is now almost completed, while the first excavation work has begun south of Bradley.

Work on the section along Broughton Road in Skipton from Gawflat Swing Bridge to Skipton Bypass Bridge is scheduled to run between October 23 to December 13, 2019, but users of the towpath are advised to check the Canal & River Trust’s website for up-to-date information.

Luke Edwards, project manager at Canal & River Trust, said
: “Work is progressing well and to budget. In the coming weeks people will be able to start using some of the finished sections and see a real difference in the quality of the towpath.

“We expect all construction work to be completed by mid-February 2020, which is slightly later than originally planned, due to some minor alterations to the schedule and a change of access point for the works. However, we are hoping to mitigate the delays and finish as early as possible.

“In the meantime, we are making every effort to reduce inconvenience and disruption for people who use and enjoy the canal by keeping as many sections as possible accessible. People can check our website for up-to-date details on these closed sections.”

The work is on an 8.2km stretch between Anchor Bridge (Gargrave) to Gawflat Swing Bridge (Skipton), and a further 3.5km between Bradley Swing Bridge (Bradley) and Warehouse Swing Bridge (Kildwick).

When complete, the 11.7km stretch of towpath resurfaced with a naturally occurring limestone material which creates a durable and compact surface, chosen to be in keeping with the rural area. The path will also be widened at key hotspots, including Gargrave and Broughton Road, to provide better access to and from Skipton railway station and employment sites in the town.

There will also be new ‘welcome’ and information boards about key points of interest and visitor facilities in and around the canal, and additional waymarking signage to help people find their way onto the waterway. A new canoe portage point in Gargrave, in association with Desmond Family Canoe Trail, will help paddlers get onto the water and enjoy England’s first coast-to-coast canoe trail.

Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s lead member for Enterprising Craven, said:
“I’m delighted to see the progress of this project – we know residents are keen to see this work completed.

“These new towpaths will vastly improve pedestrian and cycle links through the district all year round, improving accessibility for residents and visitors.”

To check which section of towpath will be closed, visit selecting Leeds & Liverpool Canal. All the works are listed as “Craven Towpath Improvement”.

For a free guide to days out on your local canal and how you can help support it visit