Monty crosses the border...
AS A £4m three-year project which will extend the navigable length of the Montgomery Canal to Crickheath Wharf is launched, volunteers have already completed the bulk of work on removing one of the major obstructions between there and the next target – the Welsh border.
Following confirmation of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Regional Development Fund, work is underway with a target completion date of 2020. It will include: • Rebuilding and lining 1.25 miles of channel (with support from Shropshire Union Canal Society’s volunteers) from Redwith to Crickheath including a new winding hole (turning point). This will allow both this section and a length already restored from Gronwen to Redwith to reopen to boats. • Creating offline nature reserves which will preserve the canal’s rare plant and animal species, allowing further restoration of the canal for navigation. • Upgrading five miles of towpath reaching through into Wales. CRT’s waterway manager Wendy Capelle saw it as “a huge step forward in restoring this beautiful canal” and a “testament to the dedication of so many people over several years who have kept the dream alive”, while the Montgomery Partnership’s John Dodwell regarded it as “a new step forward in the ten-year strategy to restored the canal back to Welshpool – and then on to Newtown”.
Meanwhile on the length beyond Crickheath, a team of Waterway Recovery Group volunteers spent a week in July removing an old railway embankment which blocked the route near Pant. Together with the rebuilding of Schoolhouse Bridge (supported by a £100,000 contribution from the Inland Waterways Association’s Tony Harrison Legacy – see CB, May), this represents the removal of the last two major obstructions to reopening the canal to the Welsh border at Llanymynech.