Why restore the Montgomery Canal?
An obvious answer to this question is to allow boats to get to Mid Wales again. But the real answer is much more compelling.
We know that restoring canals – and other heritage infrastructure – has a whole host of associated benefits to local communities and economies. In many areas, they can be a boon to tourism and offer job and volunteering opportunities.
The Montgomery Canal passes through some of the most picturesque countryside on the borders of Wales and England, so offers potential benefits in terms of sustainable tourism, wellbeing, appreciation of our industrial heritage and ecology.
We believe that restoration and maintenance of canals and towpaths preserve the current walking and cycling paths as well as hedgerows and verges. In addition, canals in water provide a habitat for numerous plants and animals. The joy with considerate canal restoration is that space is created not only for a wider variety of aquatic species but people too.
The vision for the restoration of the Canal is that it will:
- Be a corridor of opportunity that will provide a driving force for rural regeneration in England and Wales. By connecting local tourist attractions, the Canal will create a focus and catalyst for the wider regeneration of Welshpool and Newtown and the ‘Oswestry – Queens Head – Llanymynech’ triangle based on the area’s key historic role in the industrial revolution.
- Provide a community resource, valued and used by all.
- Enable restoration to navigation that respects, values and enhances the unique nature of the Montgomery Canal and have sustainability at the heart of all management and development.
Plans to restore the canal are in four phases, initially completing the section from Gronwen to Crickheath, and then onto Llanymynech (on the Welsh border) as Phase 2; then from Llanymynech to Arddleen enabling navigation through to Refail (south of Welshpool), the northern end of the isolated navigable section. This fits with the ambitions of Welshpool Town Council to restore the canal to Welshpool and so obtain the economic benefits of restoration. Phase 4 will be from Refail to Newtown, in line with the objectives of Newtown Town Council. The first three phases are achievable in 10 years, subject to funding, with the last part targeted for the end of the decade.
Restoration efforts are aiming to create social, environmental and economic benefits along the Shropshire – Montgomeryshire border. The Montgomery Canal is particularly fortunate in that:
- it is all owned by the Canal & River Trust, apart from the last two miles into Newtown
- there is a good water supply for the whole canal
- much of it is designated as having high wildlife value
- per mile it has more canal-age locks, bridges and other structures than most of the canal system
- it is a tranquil byway contrasted with the Llangollen Canal, the most popular on the national network
- the canal route down the Welsh border, from Llangollen to Newtown, connects market towns, heritage railways, long-distance footpaths, National Trust properties, ancient earthworks and castles.
With your support, whether through financial contributions or by becoming a member of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, we will hopefully bring the benefits of restoration to the Monty. If you think you can help, please take a look at our volunteering page.
The full plan for the restoration can be found here – https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/media/original/28659-the-montgomery-canal-restoration-strategy.pdf