Work is starting shortly to upgrade a 16-mile stretch of the Grand Union Canal running through west London.
The project, which is being carried out by the Canal & River Trust with funding from Transport for London (TfL), will see re-surfacing, access improvements, new signs and clearing back trees, bushes and undergrowth along the historic waterway between Paddington and West Drayton .
The work will run from the end of 2016 through to 2018 in phases, starting between Ladbroke Grove and Old Oak Lane and finishing at West Drayton. Trimming hedges and trees has already started along the route to clear the way for surfacing improvements.
Susannah Miller is the project co-ordinator at the Canal & River Trust, the charity which cares for 60 miles of waterways in Greater London.
She said: “London’s canals have enjoyed a real growth in popularity over recent years. They’ve become cool, great places to visit and relax, or as attractive routes to get places, whether that’s by water or the towpath.
“We’ve seen in other areas where we’ve made towpath improvements how much it can help people, but to be able to upgrade such a huge stretch is really unprecedented.
“It will hopefully make visiting the canal better for those who already love it, as well as encouraging more people to find out what the waterways have to offer.”
The route will be incorporated in TfL’s Quietways network across London of high quality, well signed routes, guiding people along less-busy backstreets, parks, along waterways or tree lined streets.
The trust is holding a series of drop-in sessions along the route on-board its information boat Jena and is encouraging anyone with ideas or views on the improvements to come along or get in touch.
The investment comes as thetTrust recently launched a towpath code "Better Towpaths for Everyone" following consultation with more than 2,000 towpath visitors and interest groups.
The top three issues raised were:
- The need for improvements to the towpaths
- Better signage
- Better behaviour between visitors. For more information visit