The Montgomery Canal restoration project
The Canal & River Trust and our partners’ long-held vision for the Montgomery Canal is for a thriving and sustainable canal – a canal that benefits both people and nature. The continued restoration of this historic manmade waterway will give it a secure future for this and coming generations.
The role that a restored Montgomery Canal can play in enhancing biodiversity is central to our charity's purpose – as is supporting the cultural heritage of the canal and the additional jobs and boost to the economy that restoration will provide. Restoration is critical to ensure the sustainable long-term future of the canal. With increased economic and social purpose, the canal can be better managed and protected, saving it from falling into the disrepair that in turn would be harmful to the protected flora.
The special designation of the Montgomery Canal as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and as a Special Area of Conservation is a protected and fundamental pillar of the canal's restoration. Indeed, a special conservation plan agreed by over a dozen organisations including Powys County Council, Shropshire Council and Natural Resources Wales, which includes bringing more of the canal back to navigation, is a key part of securing both the canal's future and its protected environmental status.
As the nation's canal charity, we have the experience and expertise to help deliver benefits for both wildlife and people. Our understanding of the unique and often complex ecosystems formed within canals provides the opportunity to achieve a balance between the ‘Monty's' highly important ecology and the navigation by boats which will help safeguard the canal's future.
Many of our canals have important protected environmental designation, including the Rochdale Canal which is home to the same protected floating water plantain as the Montgomery Canal. This example shows that restoration to navigation is ultimately beneficial for the species. Without the long-term management that restoration helps secure, the protected flora the canal hosts will likely be outcompeted by other more vigorous plants.
Again, as we've seen elsewhere, a controlled level of boating will be beneficial to submerged flora, keeping back the various reed fringes, whilst three new significant nature reserves adjacent to the canal will bring benefit to the protected species and other much loved and endangered wildlife.
The successful bid for the Levelling Up Fund by Powys County Council presents an amazing opportunity to achieve the vison of a restored canal – one that brings the increased economic and social purpose which is critical to ensure the sustainable long-term future of the Montgomery Canal and the future of the flora along its length. As the delivery partner we look forward to working with the community, our partners, many volunteers and supporters over the weeks and months ahead.
Levelling Up Fund gives the go-ahead to the next phase
We are excited to be moving ahead with the next phase of restoration which will involve several areas of work, thanks to a successful bid on the Levelling Up Fund, in partnership with Powys County Council and supported by the Montgomery Canal Partnership.
The 4.4-mile section of canal between Llanymynech and Arddleen has not been navigable since the 1930s, and this phase of restoration aims to restore the channel so that navigation will eventually be possible. While this work will not enable this section to connect to other restored sections of the canal, it will see the completion of a vital part of the project.
Regeneration through sustainable restoration
The abandonment of the canal has resulted in the unique internationally significant flora found here. However, the abandoned sections of canal are now heavily silted and largely covered by dominant reed species in many sections, which impacts the survival of the rare aquatic plant assemblage.
There is a balance which needs achieving and the key to this is through its sustainable restoration and understanding that a sensitive approach to its long-term management is needed. There is still work to be done to bring back this canal to its former glory, whilst protecting and enhancing the environment for the rare species that have found a home on the canal.
Find out more about the work we are doing over the next two years by clicking on the boxes below.
With thanks to our Partners
Last Edited: 31 July 2023