The canal towpath between Slaithwaite and Milnsbridge is to close for almost six months for improvement works.

The towpath from Old Bank Bridge in Slaithwaite through to Lock 11 East at Milnsbridge – a 4km stretch – will be closed from Monday February 28 to Friday August 19.

The idea is to improve the towpath for walking and cycling and it’s part of a £2.7 million scheme for this part of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and also towpath upgrades on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Apperley Bridge and Shipley.

The towpath upgrades are being delivered through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme. Both schemes build upon previous upgrades to neighbouring sections of the canal towpaths in recent years.

Mayor of West Yorkshire – and Slaithwaite resident – Tracy Brabin said: “Traffic-free routes, such as towpaths, not only connect us with the places we need to go, they are often a focal point for the community.

“These upgrades will plug important missing links in our region’s network, helping people to get around more easily. As well as that they are also contributing to our efforts to tackle the climate emergency on our way to becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”

Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “The works on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath will make it significantly easier for people to walk or cycle in Kirklees.

“The upgrade of the canal towpath will turn the routes into safe spaces with good quality surfaces fit for walking and cycling, encouraging active travel. There are substantial benefits for people, and neighbourhoods overall when travel is done by active transportation rather than by car.

“These improvements are part of the larger CityConnect programme. The programme helps bring us one step closer to a walking and cycling network that is safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

“Repairing the path will make it usable all year round. It will also enable people to pass and interact with each other better. It will let people wheel pushchairs and wheelchairs on it comfortably, making it accessible for all.”

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Sean McGinley, regional director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Research shows that spending time by the waterways can help us feel happier and healthier. These improvements will make a very real difference to the lives of local people. These upgrades will allow more people to use the towpaths, whatever the weather.

“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.”

Equipment needed will be brought in by water and boat skippers are warned to slow down in the affected areas, and delays of up to 20 minutes can be expected.

For more on the closure go to the Canal & River Trust website HERE.