Stop 1: Wildlife comes to town

The canal brings wildlife right through the centre of Welshpool. Be prepared to spot the vivid blue kingfisher, the super-cute water vole, or traces of the so secretive otter

Otter sat on log in water among reeds Otter

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Before we set off on our one mile wildlife expedition, here’s a quick look at the canal’s history.

Canal’s rise and fall

The Montgomery Canal was built between 1796 and 1819. It was an important trade route, with horse-drawn boats carrying goods like lime and timber.

Use of the Montgomery Canal slowly declined as rail and road networks improved. It was finally abandoned after it burst its banks in 1936.

Wildlife moves in

As boat numbers decreased, the wildlife increased. It has become one of the UK’s best wildlife sites, recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Caring for the canal

Following its restoration, more people are using the canal for leisure. The challenge for the Canal & River Trust is to find a balance so that the wildlife can thrive alongside people.


Walk down the steps, then left onto the towpath. The house on your left was once a watermill, powered by Lledan Brook. The next stop is less than 50 metres along the towpath beside the white signboard. 


If you hear this sound, look around you for the flash of a kingfisher. 

Last date edited: 17 July 2015