Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

Project updates

Keep up to date with the latest updates.

Update: 11 April 2024

The project team have continued to progress with the design development of both bridges and a nature reserve that are being constructed as part of the Levelling Up Fund project. No date has been set yet for the submission of any planning applications, and a statutory pre-application consultation period will commence before any planning applications submitted. We look forward to sharing our proposals with you and details will be updated on this page in due course.

Canal towpath with newly restored bank with canal and field in the background

The team have been exploring opportunities to work across habitats elsewhere, outside of the canal, creating reserves that enhance the natural environment on a wider scale. We are looking to create a reserve on flood plain land, which will be fed by the river and will be subject to the natural rise and fall of the river. Research has shown that Luronium natans (Floating water-plantain) has colonised and established itself within this type of habitat. The design will ensure optimal river restoration with habitat/biodiversity gains and that local and downstream flood risk is not compromised. We are working closely with specialist consultants to draw up feasible design options for this element.

We're excited to share that the dredging efforts for Phase 2a and Phase 2b are now complete. In the process, we seized the opportunity to address and repair bank erosion along the canal, implementing measures to safeguard the banks against further damage. A notable part of our restoration approach involved using coir rolls, derived from coconut fibre, to establish a more natural, "green" edge in places previously fortified with metal sheet piling. Over time, this piling had begun to fail, compromising bank stability. By positioning coir rolls along the water's edge and backfilling with dredged material, we've not only addressed the immediate stability concerns but have also embraced a greener, more sustainable solution.

Water in the foreground with trees and field in the background

This approach reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship, providing an eco-friendly alternative to traditional "hard" engineering methods. It serves to prevent further erosion, offers a habitat-friendly solution to previous issues, and encourages local flora and fauna to flourish. Opting not to seed these areas, we're allowing them to naturally colonise with local plants. This method ensures that the silt-enriched areas will soon be teeming with life, seamlessly integrating into the canal's landscape. The coir rolls, too, are expected to become thriving hubs for emergent plants, further blending into the natural surroundings and enhancing the canal's biodiversity.

The final phase to dredge this 4.4-mile section of the Montgomery Canal will take place in Winter 24/25. The team are working closely with Natural Resources Wales to finalise the plan for this, and further details will be shared here when confirmed.

Update: 27 February 2024

This month, the LUF project team had an exciting visit from Matt Baker and the BBC Countryfile team. They visited us on-site, delving into the heart of our ongoing dredging phase, and took an active part in several critical conservation efforts that underscore our project's dual mission of ecological preservation and heritage restoration. Matt Baker and the Countryfile crew engaged in three key activities during their visit:

Leaky Dam Installation: Together, we built a leaky dam in one of the tributary streams, a strategic move designed to slow down the water flow. This effort is crucial for minimising silt deposition in the canal and for enhancing the overall water quality.

Coir Rolls for Bank Stabilisation: In a bid to prevent erosion and protect the canal banks from sediment runoff, we showed the Countryfile team how we are installing environmentally friendly coir rolls. These rolls, destined to be embraced by native vegetation, are a testament to our dedication to creating a thriving habitat for wildlife while ensuring the integrity of the towpath.

Floating Water Plantain Rescue: With a helping hand from the Countryfile team, we carefully collected specimens of the protected Floating water plantain (Luronium natans) from the canal's edges. This delicate operation is part of our broader effort to protect the canal's biodiversity, ensuring these plants are safely relocated during the dredging process and returned to their natural habitat thereafter.

The highlight of this collaborative effort is its upcoming feature on BBC's Countryfile on Sunday, 3rd March. This segment promises to bring much-deserved attention to the project, illuminating our endeavours to balance the ecological significance of the Montgomery Canal with our ambitions for its restoration.

Update: 24 January 2024

The project has hit the ground running in 2024, with the start of proactive pre-construction vegetation removal at the Carreghofa Lane Bridge site and our Wern nature reserve site. It is noteworthy that these crucial works, designed to precede the bird nesting season, have been assessed by our project ecologist and delivering this measure now ensures the timely completion of the removal, minimising potential disruptions to the local wildlife.

Moreover, we are just about to initiate the second phase, Phase 2b (Maerdy Crossing Bridge 102 to Rysnant Bridge 101), of this winter's dredging program. This phase will encompass both dredging activities and the installation of soft-edge bank protection. Timber stakes and coir rolls will be strategically positioned along sections with steel sheet piling, creating a favourable habitat for insects and wildlife along the canal. Additionally, careful attention will be directed towards managing areas of soft edge affected by erosion to restore the original line of the canal bank.

Looking ahead, tree and vegetation works are scheduled to occur between Rysnant Bridge 101 to Parsons Bridge 99. This proactive measure is in preparation for the planned dredging of the canal set for late September/early October 2024. These combined efforts continue to underscore our commitment to both ecological enhancement and the preservation of the Montgomery Canal's historical integrity.

Update: 21 December 2023

The dredging programme is making great progress, with the recent completion of Phase 2a from Bridge 99 (Parsons Bridge) to Newbridge Aqueduct, covering approximately 1,330 meters. The dedicated efforts of our contractor, Ebsford Environmental, have resulted in the removal of sediment, addressing impediments within the canal corridor and diseased or hazardous trees along its length. The team have installed bat boxes on several trees identified by our Ecologist and ensured that the fringe of the canal is retained on either side, providing a biodiverse corridor for invertebrates, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. This fringe habitat also provides an excellent natural buffer, protecting the soft banks of the canal from erosion and acts as a natural filter for water entering into the canal from adjacent land.

Sunny morning with sign in foreground and canal in background

Without dredging, nutrients, pollutants and contaminants can accumulate in the sediment, creating imbalances in the canal ecosystem. By enhancing aquatic ecosystems, dredging supports the health of plants, animals and humans who depend on the canal.

The dredged material has been carefully stored in a bunded area, preparing it for recycling and reclamation in the early months of the new year. We extend our gratitude to the project team, stakeholders, and the community for their support throughout Phase 2a.

As we celebrate this achievement, we look forward to the continued success of the Montgomery Canal restoration project and the positive impacts it brings to our environment and local ecosystem throughout 2024 and beyond. This winter's next part of dredging will begin in January 2024 with a big focus on enhancing the channel banks for a range of wildlife. Stay tuned for further updates as we progress towards the next steps in the sustainable regeneration of this historic canal corridor.

Digger and boat on a canal

Update: 20 November 2023

Working with our wildlife

We take an extremely careful approach to the welfare of the wildlife that use our canals throughout the planning and delivery of dredging activities.

Diggers dredging a canal on a cloudy day

Thorough surveys are conducted on all species during the warmer months when bats and other mammals are active, providing valuable information for responsible management.

Winter months are favoured for dredging and tree works due to reduced wildlife activity. Fish are less active; bats are hibernating, and birds aren’t nesting. Surveys, both internal and conducted by third-party experts, ensure a proactive approach to minimising any potential stress and disruption.

Since arriving on site, our contractors have mobilised plant and equipment and a bund has been erected to contain the materials generated from the dredging works. Dredging activities have commenced from Bridge 99 (Parsons Bridge) and progress on tree works has reached 99% completion from Parsons Bridge to Newbridge Aqueduct.

Whilst on site, our contractors and local teams carry out daily monitoring on how wildlife is interacting with the dredging operations and tree works. Since this phase of dredging has begun, the swans and cygnets have been observed in the area, appearing calm and not distressed in any way. The swans with cygnets are moving through the dredging area and being allowed to pass by the contractors who stop working to allow this.

We will continue to monitor the swans, and other wildlife, as works progress and implement additional measures if required. Anyone who is concerned should contact the Canal & River Trust directly or call 0303 040 4040.

Update: 16 October 2023

Montgomery Canal LUF Dredging and Vegetation Works - Phase 2

After working closely with Natural Resources Wales and Powys County Council, we are excited to announce that Phase 2 of the Montgomery Canal LUF Dredging and associated vegetation works is about to kick off, following the recent appointment of our contractor, Ebsford Environmental.

As part of the wider project, this significant element aims to revitalise the Montgomery Canal, ensuring its long-term health and ecological sustainability. We would like to take this opportunity to update our stakeholders and interested parties on the upcoming work.

Phase 2 Overview

Phase 2 of the Montgomery Canal project will be divided into two parts, each with its unique focus and goals:

Phase 2A: Bridge 99 (Parsons Bridge) to Newbridge Aqueduct

  • Length: Approximately 1,330 meters.
  • Estimated Dredging Volume: 2,250 cubic meters.
  • Scope: Dredging of the canal bed and associated vegetation and tree works
  • Objective: To remove sediment and vegetation in the main channel to an agreed dredge profile (Natural Resources Wales) to achieve >1.2m deep channel whilst retaining a minimum 1m fringe either side of the canal this will enhance the water quality (increasing dissolved oxygen), reduce suspended solids (making the water clearer), enhancing the habitat for all wildlife and invertebrates. We will also be addressing diseased or dangerous trees opening up some areas of shade to encourage the canal to flourish.
  • Material Management: Dredged material will be stored in a bunded area to dry down sufficiently for recycling/reclaiming by a landfill site. This process will commence early in the new year.

Public Footpath Diversion: During Phase 2A of the project, a public footpath diversion will be in place where the footpath intersects with the canal towpath across the farm land at Pont-y-Person. This diversion will ensure the safety and convenience of pedestrians while the work is underway.

Phase 2B: Bridge 101 to Bridge 102 (Maerdy Crossing)

  • Length: Approximately 1,005 meters
  • Estimated Dredging Volume: Approximately 875 cubic meters.
  • Innovative Approach: In addition to dredging, we are exploring the installation of a soft edge along the canal's edge using coir rolls and timber stakes. This eco-friendly measure will create habitat, soften the canal edge, and provide an environment for local wildlife and ecology to thrive.
  • Tree and Vegetation Works: Similar to Phase 2A, Phase 2B will also include essential tree and vegetation works to enhance the canal's ecological balance.


Phase 2A is scheduled to commence towards the end of October, with dredging and associated works expected to continue into the new year.

Phase 2B will follow in the new year, starting with dredging and the potential installation of the soft edge solution.

We are committed to keeping our stakeholders and the community informed about the progress of this important project. Your support and cooperation are invaluable as we work to restore the Montgomery Canal to its full wonder.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this period, and we look forward to the positive impacts this aspect of the project will have on the canal and its surrounding ecosystem.

Together, we are creating a more vibrant and sustainable future for this historic waterway. Stay tuned for more updates on our website and social media channels as we embark on this exciting journey of restoration and rejuvenation.

For any inquiries or updates please don't hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Last Edited: 11 April 2024

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration