Barrow towpath campaign
Sir, – Henry McLave (August 23rd) has suggested that “engineers, councillors and shopkeepers will ride roughshod” to support the upgrading of the Barrow towpath.
As a retired engineer, living beside and overlooking the Barrow towpath, may I say as gently as possible that I fully support the planned development of a hard-surfaced track.
The linking of towns and villages along the river by a safe, level, traffic-free cycle route would open the area wonderfully for tourism, especially family groups. It would also open the possibility of young people who live near the river being able to cycle in a traffic-free environment to secondary schools in their local towns.
The level towpaths would also be very wheelchair friendly.
We have watched otters play in the floodlights and come up on the tarmac paths in Leighlinbridge. We have watched kingfishers fishing from the recently rebuilt quays. To raise fears that irreparable damage would be done to the local wildlife by putting down a stone track beside the Barrow may be an effective emotive argument, but does not stand up to any real scrutiny.
I walk a few kilometres along this path on most days of the year. In autumn, winter and spring, one rarely meets other people. I suspect this may be partly due for the need for good waterproof walking boots to counter the long grass and slippery paths. A smooth stone path, as proposed, would be much more usable all year round without special footwear.
The Barrow is a magnificent resource and the concept of developing its recreational and tourist potential in a sensitive and inclusive manner is to be applauded. – Yours, etc,
GILLESPIE, C Eng, MIE