Three sections of towpath of the Shropshire Union canal towpath between Chester and Ellesmere Port have been substantially upgraded with repairs, widening, and resurfacing. The three sections are:
- Between Caughall Road and Liverpool Road, Bridge 134 to Bridge 133
- Between Liverpool Road and Knolls Bridge, which is at the north end of the Countess of Chester Country Park, Bridge 133 to Bridge 131
- Between A51 at Vicars Cross (near Chester Boughton Hall Cricket club) to the A41 near Pearl Lane, Bridge 123 to Bridge 122B
Different surfacing materials have been used on some of the sections, with some having a new sealed tarmac surface and others using an innovative recycled tarmac material called ULTITREC. This material is unsealed, but will compact with use, created a smooth, hard packed surface. For those interested, further information about this material can be found here:
The Canal & River Trust hold the guardianship of the canal and towpath. The upgrading scheme has been developed in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council. The 3 upgraded sections total 4.7km and the upgrade has cost £1.22m, £460,000 of which has been funded from the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund and £760,000 match funding from Cheshire West and Chester Council (which included developer contributions).
The canal towpath is very well used by cyclists both for local and longer journeys. Several cycle routes use it: the local Brown, Black and Scarlet routes, the Regional Cycle Network Route 70 (The Cheshire Cycleway), Regional Cycle Network Route 71 (Neston to Macclesfield), and National Cycle Network Route 45 (Chester to Salisbury).
The Campaign welcomes these improvements which we have long argued were necessary. The towpath was dangerous in sections with a very poor surface which deterred use by those on road bikes. Now the smooth surface of these sections of the canal towpath can be enjoyed safely by cyclists on all types of cycles!