Close the towpaths?

Published: Monday, 30 March 2020

After reading the piece on closing towpaths I thought I'd send my observations from the Bulbourne summit, writes Howard Clarke.

More boats than usual moored both sides of the B488 road bridge at Bulbourne for this time of year, perhaps summer levels but of course these boats aren't moving.

Wide enough for people to pass

I still walk around some of the reservoirs every day while I'm allowed by the government.  Some of the towpath from the road bridge is a service road as far as the Toll House on the Wendover Arm and quite wide enough for people to pass two metres apart and two metres from the boats.

There is a grass picnic area and car park to move into if necessary. Further on the towpath narrows but there are no boats moored in these pounds until the Marsworth pound is reached, here another path leads away from the boats and onto the Startops reservoir bank.

Left boats behind

Now we have left the boats behind and can walk around Startops and Tringford reservoirs and onto the Wendover Arm.  There are rarely boats moored on this arm at New Mill, some at the winding hole in the other direction but that is a dead end for boats and walkers, rarely visited by hoi pall-oi.

Now comes the tricky bit, the Wendover Arm.  New Mill to Bulbourne Toll House is narrow and impossible to remove two metres from oncoming walkers. I force myself in the hedge until they have passed and then march on to cover the narrow section ASAP.

Don't break into single file

Sadly some people don't even break into single file, which is not helpful, some will never see the light why we're having to do this.

Close the canals and towpaths?   Sadly while it's not necessary at the summit I think you have to with these few idiots about.