From Keighley News, September 27th, 2019
Written by Alistair Shand
CAMPAIGNERS are pressing for improvements to a stretch of canal towpath. Calls are being made for the three-kilometre section between Silsden and Kildwick, alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, to be upgraded. Walkers and cyclists who regularly use the route are among those pushing for action. The campaign has the backing of Keighley MP John Grogan. He said parts of the towpath along the 127-mile canal had been progressively upgraded over recent years. Last month, work began on a £2 million project to improve the 11-kilometre stretches between Skipton and Gargrave, and Bradley and Kildwick. That scheme is due to be completed early next year.
“That stretch is the final piece of the puzzle linking West and North Yorkshire,” he added.
“If funding can be found, it will mean there will be a quality towpath for cyclists and walkers from the centre of Leeds all the way to the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
“That can only be good for residents and tourists alike.
“The Canal and River Trust has provided me with an estimate that upgrading the stretch between Silsden and Kildwick would cost £500,000. The task now is to try to get the funding in place.”
The trust said it was keen to see towpaths upgraded as part of efforts to attract more people to waterways.
Jane Thomson, the charity’s enterprise manager, told us: “We are very supportive of upgrading towpaths as we want to encourage people to spend more time by the water.
“This stretch between Silsden and Kildwick is particularly important because it will complete an upgraded route all the way from Leeds to the Yorkshire Dales.
“We are continuing to work with our partners to grasp any potential funding opportunities for this part of the canal.”
The trust says the improvements between Gargrave and Skipton, and Bradley and Kildwick, are scheduled to be finished in February.
Funding for that scheme was secured from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, with further support from Craven Council and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.
And a section of Airedale Greenway towpath was upgraded last year, thanks to funding from the Department of Transport.
The project was delivered by West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and Bradford Council.
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in Britain built as a single waterway.