Cyclists want action over a long stretch of Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath which has been closed for more than six months.

Pressure group Cycle Kirklees says it’s unacceptable the stretch at Longroyd Bridge will be shut indefinitely due to the risk of the wall collapsing and asbestos being found at the site.

The stretch has been shut at Longroyd Bridge between Stoney Battery Road and where Manchester Road meets Longroyd Lane close to Huddersfield town centre. Walkers and cyclists seem to be using the Factory Lane exit from the towpath in Milnsbridge or the Stoney Battery Road one a bit further down towards town to avoid the closure.

The protestors will be at the towpath just off Longroyd Lane at 11am this Saturday (October 14) with placards and will then cycle or walk to the other end of the closure on Manchester Road.

Cycle Kirklees says: “This long-term closure has become an issue for members and residents along the whole valley. We are seven months into this closure and the signs don’t look good for remediation. 

“According to the Canal and River Trust, the closure is due to an unstable wall and now asbestos has been found behind it. It’s unclear at this stage if the Trust has the resources to fix it and certainly doesn’t appear to be able to do so quickly.”

Cycle Kirklees adds: “The Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath (Colne Valley Greenway) has been subject to a large investment over recent years to improve it for walkers and cyclists and to make it more accessible. Funding was provided in part by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s City Connect programme.

“The canal path is the only traffic-free route along the Colne Valley with the busy Manchester Road being the most direct alternative and also provides an important walking route. We understand that this area will soon be the target for a behavioural change campaign by West Yorkshire Combined Authority called Ride It, Walk It!

It’s an important route that has had a lot of public money spent upgrading it. It is frustrating that the maintenance of active travel facilities has low priority and that the Canal and River Trust is starved of resources despite managing a critical national network of canals.” 

Sean McGinley, Canal & River Trust regional director Yorkshire & North East said: “We are sorry that this towpath closure on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has taken much longer to resolve than expected. This reflects the complexities of the repair job and our charity’s limited resources.

“Since closing the towpath we have undertaken investigations to discover who owns the unregistered land supported by the wall. Unfortunately, we have been unable to determine ownership, leaving our charity to pay for this repair at a time when our resources are already stretched and future funding will be reduced. To prevent further deterioration to the wall we did some tree clearance and our onsite investigations uncovered the presence of asbestos and further structural complications. The wall repair will be more difficult and costly than first expected. We are finalising details, but it could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“Our canal towpaths provide a great traffic-free cycle and walking route. We helped to recently improve this section of towpath and are frustrated to see this closed to the public. However, with such serious safety concerns, including a risk of wall collapse, it is unavoidable.

“We are also deeply concerned by vandalism to break through the safety barrier with sections of masonry and signage removed.  We are spending our charity’s limited resources on regularly fixing the safety barrier while continuing to do our best to keep towpath users safe.

“Our charity is working to resolve this matter as quickly as possible and will be posting updates on our website and signage on site.” 

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.