Six months of closures for Halingway towpath

Two cyclists on the Halingway towpath by the River Cam
Cyclists on the Halingway towpath by Baits Bite Lock. Photo: Alisdair Massie

The Halingway towpath from Clayhithe to Chesterton is a vital leisure and commuter route for residents of Cambridge and beyond. We are astounded that a temporary traffic order has been awarded to the Conservators of the River Cam, allowing closures over the next six months for tree pruning. The order will be in place from 1 November 2023 to 31 March 2024 and allow any number of closures between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, with some sections having closures of even longer durations.

Conservators of the River Cam closure sign at Grassy Corner on the Halingway towpath.

While we agree that tree maintenance is an important role of the conservators, we urge them to reconsider this excessive traffic regulation order. Surely, the conservators can organise these planned tree works more efficiently to minimise the disruption to path users. With a lack of safe alternative cycling routes, many people will be significantly affected. Neither the conservators nor the county council have provided information about route diversions. 

Our asks for the county council and the Conservators of the River Cam:

  • The overall closure should be for a shorter period and only what is necessary and reasonable. (The Conservators must be more efficient in their planning and implementation of tree works.)
  • Suitable and safe barriers and signage are used for the closure.
  • Diversions that are signed and made safe for the duration of any closure.
  • All closures to be properly advertised online and on-site (date, time, location, diversion details) from the beginning of the season. The signage on site must be obvious, easy to read and weatherproof.
  • Future TTROs must not be allowed for months at a time and must only be for what is necessary and reasonable.

How you can help:

1)  Email the Cam Conservators at

2)  Email your county councillor (find details at

3)  Join our Halingway campaign mailing list:

4)  Join Camcycle as a member to support our campaigning work, get involved in member discussions on this issue and receive regular cycling magazines and email updates.

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The Conservators’ website states:

A recent tree survey has identified the necessity for pruning and in some cases felling dangerous trees to ensure the safety of those using the Halingway.

A ‘TTRO’ Temporary Traffic Regulation Order has been approved to temporarily close sections of the Halingway/towpath (Chesterton to Clayhithe) between 1 November until 31 March 2024.

      • There will be some temporary closures, of sections of the Halingway, for a few hours to deal with individual trees that present more pressing issues.
      • Closures of longer duration between Baitsbite Lock to Grassy Corner , within the above dates, will be necessary to manage larger sections.
      • All closures will be between the hours on 0900hrs-1700hrs, Monday to Friday
      • Arrangements have been made to suspend closures for official rowing events.
    • Scheduled closures will be updated regularly on the website diary. 

The Conservancy appreciates this may cause some temporary inconvenience, however these works are necessary and have been planned to ensure the safety of those who use the Halingway and the staff carrying out the works.

Posters put up by the Conservators along the river advise users to make alternative plans for their journeys over the months of closure period, but offer no advice about diversions.