Published: Mon 4th December, 2023
This release was issued by the Canal & River Trust
A section of historic canal towpath in Loughborough has been officially reopened following a government-funded project to make it better for walkers, cyclists and visiting boaters.
Charity, the Canal & River Trust, has worked in partnership with Loughborough Town Deal to improve a popular 2km stretch of the River Soar towpath running between Moor Lane Bridge and Belton Lane.
The revamped puddle-free path provides a green, traffic-free route through the town, enabling people to spend relaxing time by water on the popular route to work, university and the shops.
To mark the official reopening of the path members of the Town Deal Board and representatives of the Trust gathered on Friday 1 December to walk a section.
The improvements have been funded by UK Government through Loughborough Town Deal, which awarded a £885,000 grant.
The towpath has been widened and resurfaced, making it suitable for year-round use by walkers, cyclists and those with buggies. Access points onto the path have also been improved making the route more welcoming and connecting with other local walkways.
As well as widening and resurfacing the towpath, the project has installed 24 additional moorings for visiting boats and strengthened a 100-metre stretch of canal bank between Moor Lane and Little Moor Lane.
With research showing that time spent by water can help people feel happier and healthier, and with more people looking for a local escape on their doorstep, the works make it easier and more appealing for people to get out and explore the local canals and other routes on their doorstep.
Welcoming the improvements, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, chair of Loughborough Town Deal, said: “I am delighted to see another Town Deal backed project being completed.
“The improvements to the historic canal in Loughborough will be enjoyed by local communities and visitors to the area for many years to come and will form part of the Town Deal’s legacy.
“The Town Deal has already helped to regenerate part of the town centre, create the Careers and Enterprise Hub, expand free wi-fi in the town, create an augmented reality heritage trail and support the expansion of SportPark in Loughborough. The completion of the canal project is another important milestone for us.
“I would like to thank the Canal & River Trust for all their hard work and congratulate them for bringing much needed improvements to Loughborough’s waterways.”
Alan Leather, partnerships manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “As a charity it’s so important that we work with other organisations to keep our historic canals alive. This project is a fantastic example of how we can work together to make canals more welcoming and attractive not only to local people but also visiting boaters, which bring important economic benefits to the town.”
The canal improvement is one of 11 projects Loughborough Town Deal is supporting after securing £16.9 million from the Government’s Towns Fund . In total, the projects are worth over £40 million of investment for the town.
To find out about the work of the Canal & River Trust and how you can support, either through volunteering or making a donation visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.