Major Canal Restoration Work Starts on Montgomery Canal

Restoration of an unnavigable stretch of the Montgomery Canal on the Shropshire/Wales border is due to start this spring. The work on a 7km (4.4 mile) stretch of canal between Llanymynech and Arddleen, that has not been navigable since the 1930s, aims to restore the channel so that navigation will eventually be possible.  Dredging is the first stage in a £14 million project that will see the rebuilding of two bridges to remove obstructions to the canal and the creation of three substantial off-line nature reserves, to protect the canal’s natural heritage as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.

The project is being led by the Canal & River Trust in partnership with Powys County Council, and is supported by the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. The work is being financed under the Government’s Levelling-Up Fund. Michael Limbrey, chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, said: “It is very exciting to see work start on the first major restoration of the canal in Wales for some years….Restoring the Montgomery Canal really is a project for everyone. The revived canal will bring recreation and well-being for local communities and their visitors and will protect and enhance the canal’s valuable built and natural heritage.”

Although this stage of the project will not see the Llanymynech section linked with the canal route at Maesbury Marsh in England to the north-east, the Canal and River Trust argue that restoration of this section is critical to ensure the sustainable long-term future of the whole canal, noting that “with increased economic and social purpose, the canal can be better managed and protected, saving it from falling into the disrepair that in turn would be harmful to the protected flora.”

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