Canal Towpath Reopened

Resurfaced Canal Towpath at Boughton
Resurfaced Canal Towpath at Boughton

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:

ULTITREC Recycled Pathway Material

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!


  1. Very bad surface on towpath at little Stanney.why not a sign at boat museum that path ends there?

    • The path is passable with care but probably not on every kind of bike. I think it would be unproductive to flag it as ‘closed’ but we should continue to push for improvements. The section from Pretty Bridge up to the motorway underpass is now closed for widening and resurfacing treatment, which is progress.

  2. Hi, the section of canal from Boughton Hall Cricket club to the A41 near Pearl Lane, Bridge 123 to Bridge 122B was resurfaced as per the photo above, but a loose gravel top surface has been overlaid a few months ago. I cannot really understand why this was done as I thought the work was complete. Can anyone clarify the situation? I did ask the council and was told someone would get back to me but it never happened.

  3. What we need now is the remaining tow path from bridge 134 at Caughall to bridge 140 A at New Stanney bridge by Cheshire Oaks/A5117 improving as the Tow Paths here in places is very poor to cycle on. Also access to the canal at Caughall bridge is very poor for cyclist. A new access could be created by using the temporary depot work yard space???

  4. I rode the canal path from Countess of Chester towards Ellesmere Port and that section is now open again. It’s hard packed gravel with no bituminous topcoat, which is as promised. Definitely a big improvement in both surface and width. Not necessarily ideal for an expensive roadbike with skinny tyres, but a great leisure route.

  5. Work seems to have stalled. There has been no progress for nearly three months.

  6. Regular trimming of the hedge alongside the towpath should be carried out too. In some places even where the path has been resurfaced prior to this project the width is constrained by branches from the hedge.

  7. Really good that this work is being undertaken!
    However, I am wondering when it will be completed?

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