Cycling the Canals

Cycling along the Little Venice basin

Westminster's Little Venice lies at the junction of two canals:

These canals form attractive and direct cycle routes, avoiding all motor traffic and passing through remarkably green and tranquil surroundings.

Cycling organizations, local authorities and Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways) are seeking to improve conditions for cycling along these canals, as well as access to them.

For further information about the canals, including those outside London, please refer to canalrivertrust.org.uk

Share the Space, Drop your Pace

The Canal & River Trust has launched a new considerate towpath campaign ‘Share the Space, Drop your Pace’. The campaign calls for all those who use London’s towpaths to follow a new Greenways Code and to help keep our historic network of waterways safe and pleasant for everyone to share.

Further details »

The Grand Union Canal

Grand Union Canal at Meanwhile Gardens

The main section of the Grand Union Canal runs from Brentford in London to Birmingham and is 134 miles long. The Paddington Branch joins it near Hayes in Middlesex.

The most convenient way of joining the canal is from the path through the open space at the western end of Delamere Terrace. Unfortunately, Delamere Terrace and Blomfield Road are one-way towards the west. As part of the London Greenways project, a Cycle Route Implementation and Stakeholder Plan, published in January 2010 recommended contraflow cycling in Blomfield Road and a shared-use path along Delamere Terrace, so as to allow two-way access to the canal. Westminster is currently preparing to allow eastbound cycling along Delamere Terrace. And we have supported their funding bid for a two-way cycling scheme in Blomfield Road.

The Regent's Canal

The Regent's Canal connects Paddington to Limehouse Basin in London's Docklands via Camden, Islington, Hackney and Mile End. The Westminster section runs around the north side of Regent's Park, opposite the zoo.

The canal runs through a tunnel between Edgware Road and Lisson Grove. This can be avoided by using Blomfield Road, Aberdeen Place, Lyons Place, Fisherton Street and Frampton Street.

In recent years there have been a number of improvements to the route to the east of Lisson Grove.

Lisson Grove
The canal path is reached via a ramp from Lisson Grove.
Lisson Green Estate
A high-level path then runs along the south side of the canal past the Lisson Green Estate.
Lisson Green footbridge
The path then crosses the canal on a footbridge just to the west of the railway lines.
Macclesfield Bridge on the Regent's Canal
The path then runs along the north side of the canal, under several bridges and past the London Zoo.

Share the Space, Drop your Pace

Falling in
Don't let this happen to you!
Share the space
Consider other people and the local environment whenever you're on a Greenway. Remember some people may move less predictably, for example young children or those with visual or mobility impairments.
Drop your pace
Considerate sharing of the limited towpath space is the key. Jogging and cycling are welcome, but drop your pace in good time and let people know you are approaching by ringing a bell or politely calling out before waiting to pass slowly.
Pedestrians have priority
Towpaths are ‘Greenways’ or shared-use routes where pedestrians have priority and vehicles are generally excluded.
Be courteous to others
A smile can go a long way. Abusive or threatening behaviour is not acceptable and should be reported to the police.
Follow signs
They are there for the safety of everyone. Cyclists should dismount where required and use common sense in busy or restricted areas, recognising that pedestrians have priority.
Give way to oncoming people beneath bridges
whether they are on foot or bike and be extra careful at bends and entrances where visibility is limited.
When travelling in large groups,
especially if you are running or cycling, please use common sense and give way to others.
Try to avoid wearing headphones
This makes you less aware of your surroundings possible hazards and others sharing the same space.
Keep dogs on a short lead
and clean up after them. Dog fouling is very unpleasant and is a health hazard.
At all times, keep children close to you
and encourage them to learn and follow the Greenway Code for Towpaths.

Reporting incidents and maintenance

The Canal & River Trust strives to provide a safe environment for everyone who uses and visits its canals and rivers. If you are involved in an incident, please report it on a form you can download from http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/visitor-incidents

If you come across instances where maintenance is required, please contact London Waterways by email at enquiries.london@canalrivertrust.org.uk, giving details and the location of the problem.

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