THE Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal towpath is being improved due to £800,000 of funding.

Money has been secured by the Canal and River Trust from Transport for Greater Manchester, through the Department for Transport Cycle City Ambition Grant.

The works will see further improvements along the Bolton arm of the canal towpath between Meccano Bridge to Hall Lane in Little Lever.

Once work is completed, it will ensure that the local community will be able to use the towpath for walking and cycling all year round.

The work is scheduled to last until early summer with some towpath restrictions in place whilst the new improved surface is installed.

The Canal and River Trust cares for up to 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.

They believe spending time by water can make people healthier and happier, and that by bringing communities together to make a difference to their local waterway, they are creating places and spaces that can be used and enjoyed by everyone..

Lucy Rogers, enterprise manager at the Canal and River Trust, said: "The Canal and River Trust is delighted to be working with Transport for Greater Manchester on this great project to improve a much-used community resource.

"Not only will the new towpath surface benefit cyclists and joggers but also the everyday user of the towpath including walkers, fishermen and families on a day out. We know from research that people are happier and more relaxed when they are by water, and the improvements to the towpath condition will help contribute to improving people's mental and physical well-being. "

The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal is 15 miles long and originally ran north from Salford, on the River Irwell near Manchester, to Nob End within the village of Little Lever.

It then split in two, with the main line continuing to Bury, while a branch headed north-west to Canal Wharf in Bolton.

The canal fell out of industrial use in the 1940’s after a major breach in 1936 just to the east of Prestolee Locks.

While the towpath remains a popular local resource, plans are also underway to restore the canal with boats returning to the waterway.

Greater Manchester's cycling and walking commissioner, Chris Boardman added: "This scheme connects up the communities of Farnworth, Little Lever, Prestolee, Radcliffe and Bury through the green spaces that surround them. The improvements will enable more people to travel locally on foot or by bike to the shops, to school, the railway station and the tram stop.

"By making use of the canal space, we are transforming a three and a half mile car trip into a one and a half mile walk or cycle."

To find out about the work of the Canal and River Trust or to donate or volunteer visit