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Army of volunteers clear major blockage during restoration of Montgomery Canal

A ‘Herculean’ effort from volunteers has helped to remove an old railway embankment, which was blocking part of the Montgomery Canal at Pant, near Llanymynech, Shropshire.

Embankment before works

Supported by us, volunteers from Waterway Recovery Group North West (part of the Inland Waterways Association) and the Shropshire Union Society removed over 1,100 tonnes of material which has been blocking the canal line for over 60 years.

The embankment was created on the Oswestry-Welshpool railway line when an old bridge was removed after the canal was closed. The railway itself was closed in 1965 and the bank was left to obstruct the derelict canal.

Wendy Capelle, our waterway manager said: "We're totally amazed to see what the volunteers have achieved by removing the old railway embankment from the line of the Montgomery Canal at Pant. Their hard work and dedication has saved our charity thousands of pounds, which we are extremely grateful for.

"The dream to restore the Montgomery Canal, one of Britain's most picturesque canals is progressing well thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and the recent donation from Heritage Lottery and other funders which has kick started a £4 million project. Working together we're aiming to fully restore the canal within the next 10 years."

John Dodwell, chair of the Montgomery Canal Partnership, said "It is amazing what the volunteers have done in removing the old railway embankment from the line of the Montgomery Canal. Having volunteers skilled at driving mechanical diggers and dumpers is an enormous help. They worked solidly for six days.

"This was yet another example of what a difference volunteers can make in restoring this Canal. The Montgomery Canal is of national importance – this time demonstrated by the fact that volunteers came from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Crewe, Wrexham, Milton Keynes and Watford, as well as from nearer to Pant and we're eternally grateful for their hard work."

You can view the timelapse footage of the restoration below.

Known for its outstanding natural beauty, wildlife and heritage, the Montgomery Canal runs for 35 miles between England and Wales. The canal has as many as 127 Listed structures, showing its importance as part of the country's heritage. The canal has an abundance of rare aquatic plants and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest on both sides of the border. The whole length of the waterway in Wales is also recognised as a Special Area of Conservation, reaffirming that it is one of the most important sites for wildlife in Europe.

We are working with the 14 partner organisations which make up the Montgomery Canal Partnership. The Partnership aims to restore the canal fully within the next decade as a haven for people and nature. This work will bring canal boats back to Crickheath for the first time in over 80 years.

Two volunteers in high vis jackets gardening on the canal towpath

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Last Edited: 09 June 2022

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