Another blockage to go on Montgomery Canal

Published: Friday, 07 July 2017

VOLUNTEERS from the Waterway Recovery Group will be returning for the last time to the railway embankment which blocks the Montgomery Canal at Pant, near Llanymynech.

It will take a week-long work party next week, from 12th to the 19th July, to removed the bank and eventually make way for restoration of the canal.

Obstruct the canal

The embankment was created on the Oswestry-Welshpool railway line when an old bridge was removed after the canal was closed. The railway itself was closed in 1965 and the bank was left to obstruct the derelict canal.

On previous occasions, canal volunteers have cleared trees and other growth and investigated the ground conditions as preparation for removing the embankment. This project will see the removal of about 1,000 cubic metres of spoil which block the canal between the two abutments of the old railway bridge. It is believed that the abutments are in good condition and will remain in place.

MontyPantLocal volunteers

Local volunteers from the Welshpool-based Thursday Restoration and Maintenance Project Supporters—known as TRAMPS—have cleared the recent vegetation which has grown since the Waterway Recovery Group were on site in February, as seen in the picture.

The Montgomery Canal always attracts interest from across the country: Waterway Recovery Group members are coming to this work party from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Crewe, Wrexham and Watford. They will be joined by volunteers from the Shropshire Union Canal Society whose regular work site is at Morton where they are working on the lottery-supported restoration to Crickheath.

Diggers and dumpers

Michael Limbrey, Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, explained:

"Our canals were built 200 years ago with the early navvies—'navigators'—working with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. Today volunteers who work on canal restoration have to be fully trained and this group will be working with two large diggers and dumper trucks transporting the spoil back to the road. From there lorries will move it off site.

"It will be a busy week, but at the end the old railway embankment will be gone and the canal towpath will be open for use. A later stage of restoration will involve shaping and waterproofing the channel as part of the project to extend the canal from Crickheath to Llanymynech. We are busy raising funds for this stage of restoration and hope that the many residents and visitors who enjoy using the towpath will support our appeal called 'Restore The Montgomery Canal'—

"Reopening the canal to Llanymynech is part of the wider plan to restore the connection to the national waterway network, so that boats from across the country can bring the canal in Llanymynech and Welshpool back to life."