24th March 2020

Residents urged to limit use of canal towpaths

Whilst we are all making sense of and coming to terms with the new rules in place regarding staying indoors, isolating and permissible reasons for leaving the home, we’d like to raise awareness of the situation boaters on our canals find themselves in, and ask that residents restrict their use of tow paths where boats are moored.

Please be aware that people living on boats also have people in vulnerable health risk categories amongst them, and some are already self isolating. With towpaths quite narrow in places, they are finding walkers, runners and cyclist are regularly coming within 2 metres of their boats, to which many are confined for fear of sitting on the bank.

One member of the boater community told us:

“My husband has been told that he is high-risk and must isolate for 13 weeks. We are now worried to even have our hatches or windows open due to the number of people exercising on the towpath.”

The Canal and River Trust is regularly updating their advice on their page HERE 

This morning they said:

“In these unprecedented times, our priority is to support the national effort to keep people safe, following the Government’s advice and taking the appropriate action to protect our colleagues and partners, and everyone who visits, or lives on and around, our canals and river navigations.

Whilst our towpaths remain open, use of them should now be limited.

If our canals and rivers are local to you, and you use the towpath for your daily exercise or journey to undertake essential work, please now avoid any stretches with boats moored against the towpath, and strictly observe social distancing at all times, following the latest advice from Government.

Getting out to exercise is of course important to us all, and we encourage you to do so, though please keep to large open spaces and wider rights of way wherever possible for the sake of everyone in our community.

If you would like to support more vulnerable groups, please donate to the Bradford on Avon COVID 19 response fund HERE