Hemel Garden Communities Helps Fund Vital Upgrade Work on the Grand Union Canal Towpath

Posted 05/04/2023

The upgrading of a key section of the Grand Union Canal towpath between Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley is getting underway later this month, to make it more accessible for the local community and encourage cycling and walking.

Hemel Garden Communities was awarded government funding for the project through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as part of the Garden Communities Programme. The improvements will be delivered in partnership with Three Rivers District Council, Dacorum Borough Council and Nash Mills and Kings Langley Parish Councils, who have all also contributed financially, with the support of Hertfordshire County Council and the Canal & River Trust.

The work involves a resurfacing of an 800 metre area of the towpath between Nash Mills Lane in Apsley and the River Gade lakes, north of Kings Langley.  The section is a popular leisure route and pedestrian link between Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead. It is used by local students to get to school, as well as commuters accessing Apsley and Kings Langley train stations, but the lack of a good continuous surface has meant that it’s not being used to its full potential. It’s hoped the new high-quality surface will encourage more local people to switch to sustainable modes of transport – a key aim of the Hemel Garden Communities programme as part of the future transformation of the town.

The latest phase of work follows on from improvements which have already been made to the towpath between Croxley Green and Tooveys Mill, providing a traffic-free route that can be enjoyed by the local community and boosting health and wellbeing. The Chair of Hemel Garden Communities Board, Bob Lane OBE, commented, “We are very pleased to support this key upgrade to the towpath, working with our local authority partners. The Grand Union Canal is a beautiful local attraction and the resurfacing will enable more people to enjoy it year-round, for leisure and active travel.”

Ros Daniels, Canal & River Trust director for London & South East added, “As the nation’s canal charity making life better by water, we’re creating great off-road routes for the local community through resurfacing towpaths. Research shows that being next to water improves your mental and physical health and we are committed to making canals more welcoming, safe and clean. This in turn will encourage more people to use them, and enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of walking and cycling, and being by the water.”

Funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, through the Garden Communities Programme, has enabled a number of active travel projects to be delivered within the local area, as part of the vision for Hemel Garden Communities and the future transformation of the town. Improvements to the Nickey Line are already underway, along with work on the Buncefield Lane Quietway walking and cycling route, in the Maylands area of Hemel Hempstead.

The towpath upgrade work is due to start in May and is expected to be completed in July. Public access will be suspended through the site for the duration, with a diversion route in place, although access for leisure activities, such as fishing, will be maintained where possible. For more information, go to Canal and River Trust.