Cllr Anne Western, Leader of Derbyshire County Council is set to officially open a revamped stretch of the Erewash Canal’s historic towpath after a £500,000 project to improve the route for walkers and cyclists was completed.

The Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of historic waterways in England & Wales, has been working since April to improve the towpath between Potters Lock and Awsworth Road Bridge. The aim of the project is to give local people a clean, green route to Ilkeston’s shops, businesses and the town’s new railway station.

The old path was quite narrow in places and suffered from puddles and mud in wet weather. The improvement works have strengthened the canal bank and seen a new wider, smoother path that will be more accessible for walkers, cyclists, boaters and people with wheelchairs or buggies installed.

Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Anne Western said: “We welcome initiatives which help people to walk and cycle. It’s a great way to stay healthy and better for the environment than travelling by car.

“We’re particularly pleased that this project will help local people reach the new railway station in Ilkeston which will be a fantastic asset for the town. The station will give local people new, faster opportunities to travel to Nottingham, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool and Norwich, providing access to more job opportunities which will in turn boost the local economy.”

It’s the latest stretch of the Erewash Canal towpath to be improved, with the five mile section from Long Eaton to Hallam Fields being revamped in recent years.

Funding for the works has come from Derbyshire County Council and the Canal & River Trust. The project forms part of the Ilkeston Gateway, a programme of connecting infrastructure improvements allowing access between the railway station, local communities and Ilkeston Town Centre.

Lucie Hoelmer, Enterprise Manager for the Canal & River Trust said; “The new path is looking fantastic and we’ve already had lots of really positive comments from people that have used it.

“It’s a lovely route, providing a green, traffic-free escape in even the most urban of areas and the new towpath surface will make it a lot more enjoyable for local people.

“These improvements mean that people can get out and explore the wonderful wildlife and amazing history along their local towpath without getting their feet wet.”

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