Legacy boost for restoration of the Montgomery Canal

Published: Friday, 20 December 2019

PLANS to restore the Montgomery Canal have received a boost with a £40,000 legacy from the estate of a supporter in Cheshire, writes Michael Limbrey, Chairman of the Restore the Montgomery Canal Appeal.

The legacy comes while preparations continue to rebuild Schoolhouse Bridge, the last bridge blockage in Shropshire

Many benefits

This legacy is another example of the support we have for our programme to revive the Montgomery Canal . Restoration will bring many benefits to the area and adds a very special canal to the network of waterways that extends from Wiltshire to Yorkshire and into East Anglia.

This support is timely because we are still heavily engaged in the preparation to rebuild Schoolhouse Bridge near Oswestry, a vital step to restoring the canal to the Welsh border at Llanymynech. A number of bridges have already been rebuilt on the Montgomery Canal and canal volunteers have built or restored bridges on other canal restorations too, but our project is unusual as the volunteer-led reconstruction of a bridge on a public highway using volunteers as much as possible—in today’s climate that is the really only way the bridge can be reopened.

Reluctant to delay

We still have to finalise a number of engineering and procedural details for the bridge and as these are still outstanding we are reluctantly having to delay the project for a year. This means we can use 2020 to resolve the issues currently holding us up and make sure everything is ready for a start in spring 2021.

Unfortunately some of these details are leading us to expect that the cost will be higher than we had expected so this legacy is a welcome help towards the extra cost. We shall too have another year to raise the rest of what we need - and if we raise too much we will be able to use the surplus on the next stages of restoration.

Hugh amount of effort

I want to pay tribute to our project leader Roger Bravey, who has put a huge amount of effort into planning for the bridge and is still heavily engaged with consultants and contractors on the final issues.  Roger is supported by an experienced team of people who have retired from careers in construction projects, all of them new to volunteering for the canal, and their help is greatly appreciated.

Other volunteers have come forward to help us to plan what comes after Schoolhouse Bridge.  We are always glad to receive help from anyone who can join work parties, raise more funds for Schoolhouse Bridge or for further restoration or help us to develop those next projects, all as part of our programme to reopen the canal to Llanymynech and into mid-Wales.

The Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal is run by the local canal charities, the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, Shropshire Union Canal Society and Inland Waterways Association. More about support for the Montgomery Canal at: