Community comes together to celebrate Rochdale Canal towpath improvements at Todmorden

£2.1 million scheme is part of a package of canal towpath upgrades across West Yorkshire

15 June 2022

The community came together at Todmorden on Saturday (11 June) to celebrate the latest improvements on the Rochdale Canal towpath delivered in partnership by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the Canal & River Trust and Calderdale Council.

People were invited to take part in a family-friendly nature trail to officially mark the completion of a £2.1 million scheme to boost walking and cycling access on a 6km section of the canal towpath between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

The towpath improvements, which included resurfacing and widening works, build on previous upgrades to a 10km section between Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“It’s fantastic to see the community come together to celebrate these latest improvements to the Rochdale Canal towpath.

“We know getting more people walking and cycling is part of the solution to so many of the challenges we face – from boosting our health and wellbeing, to reducing congestion on our roads, improving the air we breathe and tackling the climate emergency on our way to becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.

“Alongside other schemes across the region, our series of canal towpath upgrades are providing important missing links in local walking and cycling infrastructure, helping connect more people with the places they need to go and opening up access to some of our best countryside.

Cllr Manisha Kaushik, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Lead Member for Active Travel, said:

“The Rochdale Canal towpath improvements are just one example of how we are working in partnership with others to make walking and cycling people’s first choice. 

“The towpath upgrades provide people travelling on foot or by bike through the valley with a safe, scenic, traffic-free route they can use all year round.

“We have already seen an increase in the number of trips being made on the towpath between Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge, and I’m confident the same thing will happen on this section too.”

Cllr Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, said:

“Taking climate action is one of the Council’s three key priorities, so it’s brilliant to see the Rochdale Canal towpath improvements now up and running and being well used, alongside other projects across Calderdale to cut carbon and encourage active travel.

“It was great to see families at the community celebration event getting excited about the improvements, helping young people understand the importance of travelling in active and sustainable ways, and getting into good habits for life.”

Sean McGinley, Regional Director for Canal & River Trust, said:

“We know that being by the water is good for our health and wellbeing, and it’s fantastic to see the local community enjoying the upgraded towpath. Whether it’s a green, traffic-free route to work, a place to keep fit or just a quiet place to de-stress, the canal is on the doorstep and free for everyone to enjoy.”   

The upgraded towpath, which is to form part of the Calder Valley cycle route, will add to those already constructed and under construction in the area, ultimately providing a continuous off-road route from Brighouse to Todmorden for people travelling by bike or on foot.

The Rochdale Canal scheme is part of a wider package of towpath improvements being delivered across West Yorkshire through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, which is aimed at enabling more people to walk and cycle.