Stop 3: Digging for Victory

Had it not been for the efforts of welly wearing, spade wielding volunteers, this peaceful canal might now be a busy road

Black and white photo of Montgomery Canal with cottages on towpath Black and white photo of Montgomery Canal

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The Big Dig

By the 1960s, the Montgomery Canal was stagnant and overgrown. But when a proposal was made to convert it into a road, local people objected. 

The Welshpool Big Dig took place in 1969, organised by the Shropshire Union Canal Society and Inland Waterways Association.

Volunteers cleared a 1.5 mile stretch of the canal, starting here at Town Lock. The restoration has been on-going ever since.

Unusual lock gates

Town Lock was once the site of a corn-mill – find out more on the adjacent panels. The existing lock with its unusual short, metal balance beams was installed when the canal was restored in the 1970s.

Swanning around

The Montgomery Canal is home to 20 per cent of the breeding mute swans in Wales.

Despite the name, the swans aren’t mute. They grunt, growl and hiss, usually when seeing off other swans or birds. 

The range of ducks is a result of wild mallards mating with domesticated varieties – so they come in all shapes and sizes.


Despite their serene appearance, swans can make some unpleasant noises! Listen here.


Cross back to the towpath and continue. You’ll find the next stop point by the gate that leads to a play area.

Last date edited: 17 July 2015