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Towpath Cycling

Cycling around the Inland Waterways of the UK – Bike Trails and the Waterways cycle permission.

In recent years the rules have changed and a Cycle Permit is no longer required.

Towpath Cyclists

There are literally hundreds of miles of riverside and canal towpaths, lake side tracks and riverside walkways that are available for use by the cyclist.

The surfaces will vary considerably, from concrete and tarmac or asphalt to bare soil, grass or stony path surface, and you're likely to find a mixture of these on any waterway bike trail. It is recommended that cyclists use ‘mountain bike’ type tyres on towpaths in rural areas as these are not suitable for thin racing bike tyres.

Before cycling on any towpaths owned by Canal & River Trust, you will need to read the rules.

You can read water ways cycle advice here. By accepting the Canal & River Trust rules, you are agreeing to follow the Waterways Code, and to cycle only on those stretches of towpath classified as open to cyclists.

The Waterways Code aims to protect everyone’s safety on and around the inland waterways of the UK, to safeguard the ecology and environment, and to avoid disturbing the enjoyment of other users of the waterway and towpath.

There is no public right of way for cyclists on canal towpaths, and Canal & River Trust reserves the right to disallow users who disregard the rules.

Want to know where you can cycle on the towpath?

Canal & River Trust ~ Waterscape.com has a selection of popular recommended cycle routes. These take in waterside towpaths. You can also plan your own journey along the towpaths of Britain. Not all towpaths are open for cycling, either because of the width or surface, or because cycles would cause a real danger to other users.