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History of the Montgomery Canal

Thumbnail of article from Navvies newletter about Montgomery Restoration

Waterway Recovery Group article on the Montgomery restoration

This article from the Waterway Recovery Group newsletter "Navvies" kindly provided by Editor Martin Ludgate gives an excellent overview of the history and future plans for the Montgomery restoration.

Black and white photo of volunteer clearing the Montgomery Canal at the Welshpool Big Dig

In the beginning

The Montgomery Canal was built 200 years ago. Boats transported lime and coal to kilns where the lime was burnt to improve the quality of the local farmland. They also transported timber, wool and general merchandise.

One of the last freights carried was grain from Liverpool to a mill at Maesbury Marsh in Shropshire.

When there was a breach of the bank in 1936 the railway company which then owned the canal did not repair it and the canal became derelict.

Volunteers working on the Montgomery Canal at the Big Dig in 1969

Restoration began in 1969, in Welshpool, in response to a plan to use the Canal route for a by-pass.

Today half the Canal has been restored and we are working to close the gap between Maesbury and Welshpool.

Parts of the Canal are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and in Wales the Canal is also a Special Area of Conservation. Today it is the home of the largest UK population of the rare aquatic floating water plantain and grass wrack pondweed. Otters have been seen near Welshpool.

The Montgomery Canal has 127 listed structures, more per mile than any other part of the canal network, including the Vyrnwy aqueduct and unique iron paddle fittings at locks.

The canal's special built and natural heritage are important features of the restoration plans in the Conservation Management Strategy of the Montgomery Canal Partnership, which brings together local authorities and statutory agencies with restoration and wildlife interests.


The Big Dig at Welshpool

The Big Dig at Welshpool in 1969 was the start of the Montgomery Canal restoration

The Big Dig

Canal opened at Gallowstree

1992 David Suchet opening the canal at Gallowstree

The Big Dig

Frankton Locks re-opened

The opening of Frankton Locks in 1996 reconnected the Montgomery Canal to the canal system

Narrowboat coming out of Frankton Locks in 1996

Aston locks re-opened

In 2003, John Craven officially re-opened the Aston Locks

Narrowboat coming out of Aston Locks in 2003
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