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River Bank Repairs

(1 April 2009)

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With Thanks to Brilliant TV

Finally after years of campaigning, the Royal Borough and Environment Agency are doing something about the dreadful state of the towpath along Cliveden Reach between Boulters Lock and the "beach" at the end of Mill Lane.

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There's a mile long stretch where the towpath is so treacherous that someone falls in the river almost every month.  Tree roots poking through the path, huge ruts in the track and collapsing banks give a general air of unkempt and uncared for Thames Path.

This unique stretch of the Thames Path boasts the only escarpment along England's longest river - and the Cliveden Reach is recognised as the most stunning section of the whole Thames.  

Yet the state of the towpath is such, that  you take your life in your hands if you attempt to use it. And if you have a push chair, or wheeelchair forget it! It's a death trap. 

This week two workmen were spotted repairing some sections of collapsed riverbank. In nine places along this popular towpath the bank is to be patched up and potholes filled in with gravel and soil.

Sadly there are no plans to remove obstructions (such as trees in the middle of the path) or indeed level the whole path to make it pushchair and wheelchair accessible. 

Part of the Environment Agency's responsibility is to maintain the towpath and access for all is included in its charter.
Local resident Ted Harris explained how his 11 year old daughter had fallen in the river while attempting to use the path on her way to Holy Trinity School in Cookham.  "The road over Widbrook is far too dangerous for walkers or cyclists, who have no alternative but to use the towpath" he said.
"We complained to the Council and finally they have got around to doing something" he added "My daughter is now 43." 

Let's hope it won't take another 32 years to finish the job and make the towpath level and useable along this most beautiful of tracks.

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