Stop 6: Still waters run deep

From a calm underwater world to chaos - the canal needs careful management to keep it safe for everyone.

Black and white photo of horse pulling boat with man holding harness Horse boating on Montgomery Canal

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Underwater forest

Look down into the clear water and you’ll see a world of delicate swaying vegetation. Much of our work is to ensure the survival of these plants.

World-class plants

The canal is a top European site for wildlife, but also world-class for two of its plants. Floating water plantainhas thin stems with small leaves that rise to the surface, hence the name. It has white three-petalled flowers.

Grass-wrack pondweed has narrow strap-like leaves. Its flowers, like small  reddish-brown cones, peek above the water’s surface. 

High-tech canal keeping

The black box on the towpath contains an electronic device which sends water level reports to the Trust’s engineers. It can indicate leaks which we need repair to conserve water.

If the water level falls drastically, it shows that a bank has burst. This triggers emergency procedures due to the serious risk of flooding.

In the past, monitoring water levels was the job of the canalman.

The last breach

After a breach in 1936, the owners of the Montgomery Canal decided it wasn’t worth repairing, so the canal was abandoned.


You’ll hear wrens all along the canal. It’s tiny but very loud!


The next stop point is on the bench (just before the pond on left of the towpath).

Last date edited: 17 July 2015