RUDENESS is being banished from the riverside with walkers being urged to be polite and doff their hats to passers-by.

The Canal and River Trust is enforcing a be-nice-or-leave policy at Isis Lock in Oxford to encourage people to remember their manners on the towpath.

Messages of encouragement have been sprayed onto the towpath saying ‘smile and say hi as you go by’ and this is ‘a hat tipping zone’ - a nod to decades past when people doffed their caps in greeting.

In a statement the trust said Isis Lock had been chosen for the scheme "because it’s a known commuter rat-run and gets very busy at peak times of the day."

The trust's South East development and engagement manager Sarah Brown, said the scheme aims to allow people to enjoy the peace and calm of the towpaths even in the heart of the city.

She added: "We want to remind visitors to the Oxford Canal that old fashioned manners still have a place on our modern towpaths.

"For many people our towpaths are among their most precious green spaces, antidotes to the pace and stress of the modern world and places to relax and unwind.

"They are ‘super slow ways’, providing a slice of peace and calm through the centres of our busiest cities.

"We are all there to enjoy the space. If you’re in a rush, the towpath is not the best place for you."

A poem from Luke Kennard, the group's canal laureate, is also emblazoned on the towpath.

Part of it reads: "New traveller of the shining towpath, please be mindful as you roam. It’s not that you can’t speak, eat, laugh, but this is everyone’s home. Let others too enjoy its use, be like the duck and not the goose."

To launch the politeness campaign, commuters passing through the lock on Wednesday[apr13] morning will be greeted by a free cup of tea or coffee from the charity's staff.