CaRT backs down over K&A towpath

Published: Wednesday, 01 April 2020

SUCH  was the furore over the masses of people on the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath around Bath that Canal & River Trust has been forced to inform people not to use it.

Though not actually closing the towpath, it has done the next best thing by erecting signs telling people not to use the towpath.

StoppedKandAtowpathLike the middle of Tesco

This was of course due to the masses of walkers and cyclists using the towpath around Bath for exercise, with people telling it was like being in the middle of Tesco and one woman telling the BBC that she recorded 3,700 people passing her door in one day, the 'invasion' upsetting residents and moored boaters alike.

This was after the government had instructed people to exercise once a day, but such activity over the whole country caused the government to bring in stricter rules to get people to stay at home, even introducing fines for those that will not do so without a good reason.

The Trust has been forced to give in to the request of the local council and tell people not to use the towpath but stay at home, that has had the required effect with a report of few visitors to that particular towpath.

Inconsiderate and abusive

A big problem was that many of those exercising were inconsiderate in keeping the required distance, that really was impossible on the narrow towpath, and some abusive when asked to keep their distance.

Accepting the problem, a spokesman for the Trust admitted:

"Whilst our towpaths remain open, use of them should now be limited.  Please now avoid any stretches with boats moored against the towpath."

Boater Dru Marland, told Wiltshire Times:

Runners panting and spitting

"A lot of us, and possibly the majority, are happy with continued use of the towpath by considerate people.  I, and probably we, are less happy with runners panting noisily, spitting and ignoring the injunction to maintain separation."

It is now expected that the Trust will be called upon to restrict other towpaths by other councils as their heavy use caused by the need to exercise could, by the close proximity in view of the lack of width of the towpaths, actually be spreading the disease.