Towpath in use on Finow Canal.
A towpath on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Changeline bridge on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. The towpath changes to the other side of the canal but the horse does not have to be unhitched
A towpath made in the rock

A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge. This mode of transport was common where sailing was impractical due to rapid current,[citation needed] tunnels and bridges, or unfavourable winds.

After the Industrial Revolution, towing became obsolete when engines were fitted on boats and when railway transportation superseded the slow towing method. Since then, many of these towpaths have been converted to multi-use trails. They are still named towpaths - although they are now only occasionally used for the purpose of towing boats.

Towpaths are popular with cyclists and equestrians because they are mostly flat and long. In snowy winters they are popular with cross-country skiers and snowmobile users.

Although historically not designed or used as towpaths, acequia ditch banks also are popular recreational trails.

List of towpaths

See also

Moore Bridge.jpg UK Waterways portal

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Towpath — Tow path , n. A path traveled by men or animals in towing boats; called also {towing path}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • towpath — ► NOUN ▪ a path beside a river or canal, originally used as a pathway for horses towing barges …   English terms dictionary

  • towpath — ☆ towpath [tō′path΄ ] n. a path alongside a canal, used by men or animals towing canalboats …   English World dictionary

  • towpath — UK [ˈtəʊˌpɑːθ] / US [ˈtoʊˌpæθ] noun [countable] Word forms towpath : singular towpath plural towpaths a path along the side of a canal or river, used in the past by horses that pulled boats …   English dictionary

  • towpath — noun Towpath is used after these nouns: ↑canal …   Collocations dictionary

  • towpath — [[t]to͟ʊpɑːθ, pæθ[/t]] towpaths N COUNT A towpath is a path along the side of a canal or river, which horses used to walk on when they pulled boats …   English dictionary

  • towpath — noun Date: 1788 a path (as along a canal) traveled especially by draft animals towing boats called also towing path …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • towpath — /toh path , pahth /, n., pl. towpaths / padhz , pahdhz , paths , pahths /. a path along the bank of a canal or river, for use in towing boats. [1780 90, Amer.; TOW1 + PATH] * * * …   Universalium

  • towpath — noun a path alongside a canal or river, originally for horses towing barges, now more often used as a footpath …   Wiktionary

  • towpath — Synonyms and related words: alameda, beaten path, beaten track, berm, bicycle path, boardwalk, bridle path, catwalk, esplanade, fastwalk, foot pavement, footpath, footway, garden path, groove, hiking trail, mall, parade, path, pathway, prado,… …   Moby Thesaurus

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