Tom Fulda on Crickheath bridge

A walk along the Montgomery Canal

As the days shorten and the year is drawing to a close, we took a walk along the Montgomery Canal towpath from Pant to Crickheath and we invited Tom Fulda from the Shropshire Union Canal Society along to tell us about work to reopen the canal.

Tom Fulda is the voluntary project manager for the current work taking place from Crickheath bridge southwards towards Pant.

We started our walk on the bridge on Penygarreg Lane which crosses over the dry section of the canal and we asked Tom how long it could take to see the canal here with water in it.

“If money were unlimited the stretch to here could be completed in two years,” he promisingly said. “But we all know that money isn’t unlimited and unless the government or another generous funder comes along, it will take much longer.”

We walked down onto the canal towpath with the hedges and trees around turning wonderful browns, oranges and reds.

Joined by his wife Thelma, Tom explains he is keen to see the canal restored as he believes it’s a real benefit to the local community and greatly improves wildlife diversity.

After a couple of minutes we arrive at the site of Schoolhouse Bridge. The bridge isn’t yet open to traffic but it won’t be long now that this obstacle to the canal restoration will be completed. Soon afterwards volunteers will be reinstating the area so that walkers can walk under the bridge.

A few hundred yards on we are just south of Crickheath bridge and we can see an area of work that Tom is justifiable proud.

“A dam across the canal here marks 360 metres from Crickheath bridge and is the next section that people will see in water,” explains Tom.

A tantalising glimpse of the Montgomery Canal in water

As we visit, the wet year has filled some of the stretch in with water that gives a tantalising view of how the canal will look – hopefully by spring 2025.

“Work on the repairing the former tramway wharf south of Crickheath Bridge has stopped now until next year,” says Tom, “but you can already get a sense of how the canal will look once we have completed this stretch.”

The other side of the bridge is Crickheath basin which is now accessible to boats from across the canal system.

For everyone involved in the Montgomery Canal restoration, the goal is to open the stretch from here to Llanymynech which will cost several million pounds.

At present there’s no concrete commitment to fund this restoration but locals can see for themselves the major strides that have been taken so far by the many dedicated volunteers.

If you would like to play a part in making the reopened Montgomery Canal a reality, there are many opportunities to get involved and if you can help support the restoration financially, please visit this site.

Posted in Crickheath, Montgomery Canal, Pant.