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From bank repairs and vegetation removal through to towpath resurfacing, it is canal contractors which maintain the condition of UK towpaths to ensure that waterways continue to operate smoothly.

The Rothen Group have extensive experience in carrying out all types of canal towpath contracting on inland UK waterways. 

What is canal towpath maintenance?

Wear and tear of canal towpaths is inevitable, and there are often many maintenance tasks to complete along our waterways. Ideally, maintenance should be planned in advance, as this allows issues to be avoided and ensures that towpaths are able to remain operational for everyone to enjoy. Naturally, there are some tasks that are more important than others, with the following just some examples of maintenance projects which are regularly completed on towpaths:


  • Mending of handrails and gates

  • Pointing brickwork

  • Filling holes and resurfacing

  • Clearing weeds and debris

  • Bank repairs

  • Rebuilding of locks and bridges

What are/were towpaths used for?

Over the years canals and their towpaths have undergone many changes, from being used by barge horses to pull boats to becoming an important recreational route for walkers and cyclists. Historically, towpaths played an important role in the growth of the UK economy, with a wide network of canals built during the 18th Century to provide a fast, safe, and efficient transportation network.


Although transportation traffic on canals significantly reduced with advancements in the rail and road network, towpaths continue to be an important asset within the UK canal network, especially as they offer a quiet walking route away from busy roads. However, as growing numbers of people are attracted to towpaths, it is important that the areas are maintained effectively. Towpaths are a national asset, and through committed canal contractors it is possible to plan careful maintenance that retains and enhances their natural character.

Why is towpath maintenance important?

Regular towpath maintenance is essential to minimise breakdowns, maintain structure longevity and to stop serious faults from developing, after all, prevention will always cheaper than a cure. From the greasing of moving gates and weed clearing through to large scale resurfacing projects, a planned maintenance schedule will always reduce emergency repairs and therefore minimise disruption along the towpaths.


Every towpath has its own unique character, from its width and profile to the surface material and the wildlife which call the towpath home. Therefore, careful planning is needed to ensure an effective maintenance plan is devised.

Why use The Rothen Group for essential towpath maintenance

As experienced canal contractors, our team know everything there is to know about maintaining towpaths. We can inspect stretches of towpaths and use our knowledge to prioritise a work schedule which considers towpath users, the environment, and budgetary restraints. Whether a stretch of the towpath needs resurfacing, or a lock chamber needs rebuilding, our experienced marine engineers have the skills and floating plant equipment needed to complete your towpath maintenance project on time and within budget.


To find out more about our UK wide canal maintenance services, please contact our team today and we will be happy to offer our expertise.

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