Work has got under way to improve the Erewash Canal towpath and tranform it into a commuter route to and from Ilkeston’s new rail station.
The Canal & River Trust is making the path wider and giving it a more durable surface, which should meananyone using it will no longer get wet, muddy feet as they head to work, school or the shops.
Works are being carried out in two phases and will build upon improvements carried out last year between Potters Lock and Awsworth Road.
Trust spokesman Lucie Hoelmer said: “Spending time by the water is really relaxing and so the Erewash Canal provides a perfect route to get away from it all as part of your daily routine.
“Once we’ve finished the works this path will be a really attractive, traffic-free route that the whole community can enjoy.”
The new path will provide a better, year-round route for walkers, cyclists, people with buggies and those in wheelchairs.
Once complete it will mean that a two-and-a-half mile length of towpath from Cotmanhay to Gallows Inn will have been improved by the trust in recent years.
As well as offering a clean, green traffic-free route to the shops or station the new path will also link in with other local walking routes and nearby attractions such as Bennerley Viaduct, and the trust hope it will encourage more people to get outdoors and explore the area.
Funding for the £432,000 project has come from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) via Derbyshire County Council.
Lucie added: “As a charity we want to make our canals the best they can be for local people and we’re delighted that the LEP has supported our work and provided funding for these much-needed improvements.”
The first phase of the works will involve the towpath between Gallows Inn Lock and Potters Lock. The second section to be improved is between Awsworth Road bridge and the Bridge Inn at Cotmanhay.
Works are expected to be completed in May and local diversions will be in place.
The Canal & River Trust is largely sustained through funding donations and the work of volunteers, who see Britain’s historic waterways as a national treasure.
To learn about its work caring for more than 2,000 miles of canals, bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs across England and Wales, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.