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Montgomery Canal

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Montgomery Canal

Montgomery Canal Forum meeting

A public meeting is being held in Oswestry to look at plans for the future of the Montgomery Canal restoration.

Below Bridge 88 in Pant next to the Montgomery Canal

The event, to be opened by Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council, will look at:

• progress of the Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal (supported by Timothy West and Prunella Scales) – more information is available at www.RestoreTheMontgomeryCanal.uk
• the new Waterways in Progress report (introduced by David Suchet) which highlights the economic, social and environmental benefits achieved while restoration is still continuing
• progress of the National Lottery Heritage Fund works on the Montgomery Canal including the new nature reserves at Aston Locks
• plans for the future.

The meeting will take place a couple of days after the popular Montgomery Canal Triathlon on Saturday 18 May, which sees participants walking along the towpath through Pant and Llanymynech, as well as completing sections by bike and canoe.

There will be an opportunity to discuss any issues concerning the future of the Montgomery Canal and what it can contribute to the area.

Currently, plans are being drawn up for Schoolhouse Bridge between Pant and Crickheath, and Shropshire Council is being very supportive. Funds are being collected and organisers say that the bridge could be replaced in a year or two, which would be a fantastic step forward, and could be the best news for the restoration in twenty years.

The Forum is a public meeting, open to anyone interested in the restoration and development of the Montgomery Canal for present and future generations, so all are welcome.

The Montgomery Canal Forum meeting takes place on Tuesday 21st May 2019 and will be held in Oswestry Memorial Hall, Smithfield St, Oswestry, SY11 2EG at 2.30pm. Parking is available in the Central Car Park opposite – easiest access into town is from Mile End A5/A483 roundabout.

The Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust/Ymddiriedolaeth Adfer Camlas Maldwyn is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee and registered charity.

Llanymynech Wharf on the Montgomery Canal

Llanymynech Wharf Visitor Centre needs you!

Llanymynech Wharf Visitor Centre will be opening for the 2019 season on Easter Sunday, 21 April and is looking to recruit new volunteers to help out at this popular local tourist attraction.

Visitors to the centre can look forward to half-hour boat trips along a beautiful stretch of the Montgomery Canal on a 12-seater trip boat, the ‘George Watson Buck’. (The boat is named after the engineer who rescued and repaired the Vyrnwy aqueduct after it was threatened with collapse in the early 1800s). The boat is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. In the Visitor Centre light refreshments are served and there are canal-related gifts and books for sale as well as a selection of plants.

The centre will be open every Sunday and Bank Holiday until the end of September from 1.30 to 4.30. During August the centre will also be open at the same times each Friday. Children go free on the boat on Bank Holidays and on August Fridays. The Centre and the boat are all run by a team of volunteers.

“We always welcome new volunteers,” says Joan Zorn from the centre. “We would like to see more local people getting involved with the centre and if you would like to help, come and talk to us one Sunday afternoon or contact Liz on 01691 828165. You’d only have to commit to one or two Sunday afternoons as a minimum. We do have a lot of fun!”

During the year, there are a number of special events which take place on Bank Holidays such as Strawberry Cream Teas in August. Keep an eye on Pant.Today for information about other events.

The Visitor Centre is housed in the former stables of the Sun Inn which once stood just to the North of the canal bridge carrying the A483. The stables were restored by British Waterways (now Canal & River Trust) around 2003/4. This was at the same time as the 600m stretch of canal in Llanymynech was cleared, restored and reopened.

For further information, why not visit www.llanylime.co.uk

Walk from Pant to Llanymynech

Enjoy a walk from Pant to Llanymynech

In the first of what we hope will be a series of articles about walks in and around the village, we have put together a walk from Pant to Llanymynech, taking in Llanymynech Rocks and other local places of interest.

Walk from Pant to Llanymynech

As all of us who live here know, this is a  lovely part of the country with lots of great options for walking routes. The walk we have prepared takes in two countries, four pubs, Offa’s Dyke Way and the Montgomery Canal!

This walk is a superb way of exploring the Parish of Llanymynech and Pant whilst at the same time seeing some of the natural beauty of the area, its industrial heritage and local amenities. The walk starts at The Cross Guns Inn in Pant and is a distance of about three to five miles, depending on detours. As with all walks, please ensure you are fully equipped before you set off, as this is a guide only and some sections are off the footpath.

Click here to see the walk in full.

We hope to add more walks to the Pant Today website over the coming months and we would really welcome any suggestions. If you have an idea for a walk you would like us to try, or if you have put together your own route, please do contact us. We can’t guarantee that all walks will make it onto the website, but we will do our best to include as many as possible.

Horse drawn canal boat

Welshpool event focuses on Montgomery Canal

The Canal & River Trust charity is organising a weekend of fun waterway activities at Welshpool Wharf, as part of the Welshpool Transport Festival on 23-24 June.

Horse drawn canal boatAlthough taking place in Welshpool, the event is open to all and is taking place alongside a music festival – Music for the Monty – which is seeking to raise funds for and publicity about the restoration of the section of canal through Pant to Llanymynech.

Free canoeing and coracle taster sessions will be on offer on the Saturday (10am-5pm) and paddle boarding taster sessions on the Sunday (10am-2pm). Narrowboat trips, also free courtesy of the Heulwen Trust, will be available throughout the weekend.

These activities and other community events are being promoted by the Canal & River Trust, which manages 2,000 miles of the nation’s waterways, as part of the Heritage Lottery-funded project to restore the Montgomery Canal.

Music will keep everything swinging along throughout the weekend and a special charity concert, in aid of the Montgomery Canal restoration, will be held on Saturday night in the Assembly Room at Welshpool Town Hall. Advance tickets at the special price of £8.00 each are available through the website http://restorethemontgomerycanal.uk/tickets.html or £10 on the door.

CanoeingAlso, on both days will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a horse-drawn boat trip along this section of the Montgomery Canal. For the first time in years, this unique mode of transport will take visitors along the Welsh stretch of the waterway. Trips are heavily subsidised and cost only £2 per person. Tickets are available on the day from the bottom of Church Street Car Park near the canalside – postcode SY21 7DD.

Sylvia Edwards, Montgomery Canal community development officer with the Trust, explained: “This special weekend offers visitors a marvellous chance to try out a range of exciting activities on water. Research proves people feel happier and healthier by water so it’s a great event for introducing visitors and local residents to opportunities for enjoying leisure time on the beautiful waterway.

“For people with a more competitive streak, we are hosting a coracle relay race at 2pm on the Saturday. This is free to enter. No previous experience is necessary as participants will have chance to practise in the morning up to midday. We hope lots of supporters will come down for the race to cheer on the competitors.”

Teams of four need to have registered their coracle race entry by 21 June by emailing Sylvia.Edwards@canalrivertrust.org.uk or calling 07787 508 635.

This weekend of community activities are part of a much larger HLF-funded £4 million project which involves the creation of a new three-hectare wildlife habitat within Aston Locks Nature Reserve and navigation restored to 1¼ miles of the canal, from Maesbury to Crickheath.

A dedicated turning point for narrowboats, known as a ‘winding hole’, is also being created, enabling boats to return to the area for the first time since 1936 when the canal was closed. The project includes access improvements to the canal and nearly five miles of towpath upgraded. The Canal & River Trust works with 15 partner organisations which make up the Montgomery Canal Partnership. The Partnership aims to restore the canal fully within the next decade as a haven for people and nature.

For more information about the Montgomery Canal restoration why not visit www.restorethemontgomerycanal.uk.

Photo credit: Cracker photo by Dave Barker at Bywater Cruises.

View from Countess, a horse drawn boat on the Montgomery Canal, by Bywater Cruises, Maesbury Marsh.

Montgomery Canal photo exhibition in Pant

A photo exhibition about the Montgomery Canal takes place at Underhill Farm in Pant on 1 October.

View from Countess, a horse drawn boat on the Montgomery Canal, by Bywater Cruises, Maesbury Marsh.

View from Countess, a horse drawn boat on the Montgomery Canal, courtesy of Bywater Cruises, Maesbury Marsh.

Everyone is welcome to come along and see the exhibition which will include photos from 1969 to the present day. It offers a unique chance for local people and others to see different aspects of the Montgomery Canal through the eyes of all the generations.

There will also be an opportunity for visitors to vote on their favourite photos in the exhibition. The first ten will be used on merchandise which will be sold to raise funds for the wider canal restoration effort.

This is a touring exhibition which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will be taking place at Underhill Farm in Pant on Sunday 1 October between 2pm and 5pm.

To find our more, please visit the event website.

Montgomery Canal

Montgomery Canal photo exhibition – call for entries

The Canal and River Trust are seeking photographs of the Montgomery Canal for an exhibition to celebrate the canal, its wildlife and its heritage which will be staged at Underhill Farm in Pant.

Montgomery Canal

Montgomery Canal

Open to amateurs and professionals of all ages, villagers of Pant are especially welcome to send in their photographs as the first exhibition will be at Underhill Farm in Pant on Sunday 1st October, as part of its Big Draw family day.

Underhill Farm and Nearly Wild Exploration are helping the Trust create an exhibition celebrating the canal and its heritage, which will then be shown at a number of locations along the canal from the Newtown to Oswestry areas. The Trust also hope to produce some postcards of the canal.

Please submit photographs (maximum of two per person) preferably by September 1st, and no later than September 11th, by email to enquiries@underhillfarm.org.

Please note that, by entering, you are agreeing to the photographs you submit being used by the Canal and River Trust for both the exhibition and to promote the restoration work of the canal.

 

Excavators and dumpers arrive on site

Montgomery Canal restoration – Pant railway embankment removal

On 12 July 2017, the Shropshire Union Canal Society and the North West Waterway Recovery Group, with the support of the Canal and River Trust, took on the project to remove a former railway embankment crossing the Montgomery Canal in Pant.

Excavators and dumpers arrive on site

Excavators and dumpers arrive on site

The works were part of the project to reopen the dry section of the canal, between the restored section at Maesbury and the Welsh border at Llanymynech, for which an appeal to raise funds was launched recently.

Planning permission was granted on 20 March, with the proviso that the works should be overseen by a suitably qualified and experienced ecologist, to ensure the protection of, and enhancements for, wildlife.

The works were scheduled to take place over a seven day period, and two excavators, three dumpers and a fuel bowser arrived on site, along with members of the North West Waterway Recovery Group and the Shropshire Union Canal Society.

Work begins to remove the waste from the embankment

Work begins to remove the waste from the embankment

Dumper trucks transported the waste to Bridge 90 on the Canal, where a compound was set up so the other excavator could load the awaiting lorries, with banksmen on hand to escort off and onto site. 308 tonnes were removed on the first full day.

The project was completed one day early, with 1114.5 tonnes of waste removed and over 352 volunteer hours recorded.

A big thank you goes to all the volunteers involved and to the Canal and River Trust for their assistance.

For more details about the restoration project and to donate, please visit www.RestoreTheMontgomeryCanal.uk.

bob dewey -

Go ahead for removal of railway embankment at Pant

Shropshire Council has now granted planning permission for the removal of the railway embankment at Pant.

This means that, later in the year, the removal of the railway embankment at Pant will go ahead, making the canal towpath accessible once more.

Here, Bob Dewey, one of an army of volunteers working on the restoration of the Montgomery Canal gives a brief history of the canal and the campaign to restore it.

bob dewey -

The canal in Pant started life as the Llanymynech Branch of the Ellesmere Canal. This was the project to link the Mersey at Netherpool with the Dee at Chester and then to the Severn at Shrewsbury. The canal was completed from Netherpool (which was renamed Ellesmere Port) to Chester and a section from Trevor to Weston Lullingfields near Wem. The branch to Llanymynech was built and later extended by the Montgomeryshire Canal to Newtown. The section from Welsh Frankton to Newtown is all now known as the Montgomery Canal. The part from Chester to Trevor was never built.

After many years of use, the canal passed into the ownership of the LMS Railway Company. With only limited traffic, it was not making money and when the canal bank breached near Welsh Frankton, the company decided to abandon it even though it would only have cost a few hundred pounds to repair.

The campaign to reopen it started in the 1960s and work has progressed slowly and currently about half the canal has been made navigable. The dry section between Redwith and Llanymynech is about 2½ miles long and is one of the main separations of the restored section through Welshpool from the 3,000 mile national canal and river system. It will need a new waterproof lining to ensure it holds water.

Work is progressing south towards Crickheath where the canal was wider and boats will then be able to turn there. A recent award from the Heritage Lottery Fund will pay for those works and the provision of an extra nature reserve at Aston to protect some of the rare plant life in the canal.

The next obstruction is the School House Bridge which was demolished some years ago and replaced by an embankment. We hope to replace the bridge in the next year or so. If anyone has any old photos of the original bridge we would love to see them.

Pant railway bridge and Montgomery CanalIn Pant, the former Cambrian Railway line crossed the canal by an iron girder bridge but, in the early 1950s when the canal was derelict, it was replaced by an embankment. This also blocked the towpath. We have recently done several exploratory digs to check the state of the original stone abutments and we were pleased that they appear to be in good order.

All being well, in July we intend to remove the embankment so that the towpath can again be walked without having to negotiate the current wooden steps. A group of volunteers from across Wales and England will undertake the works. We expect to achieve this in a week, so apologies in advance whilst the work is done. Relining of the channel should follow in the next few years which will then link Llanymynech to the national canal system.

Of course this all costs money, even with volunteer labour, and we have recently lodged an appeal for funds to enable the restoration to progress. We have already raised about £120,000 and this will help with the £200,000 estimated cost of rebuilding School House Bridge. Part of this money has come from a £70,000 legacy.

We are fortunate in having a generous donor who has offered to match pound for pound money we raise from the public (capped at £60,000 over five years). As small donations qualify for 25% tax rebate via Gift Aid, this means that a £20 donation with the tax refund becomes £25 which then doubles to £50. So a £20 cost to you (or, say £5) is worth £50 (or £12.50) to us.

I am one of those who will be giving up my time to help restore the canal. Will you please help me with the costs of materials and plant hire?? Please look at the donations tab on our website at www.RestoreTheMontgomeryCanal.uk

Or you can send a cheque to Restore the Montgomery Canal, Crowther Hall, Pool Quay, Welshpool SY21 9JU.

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