Montgomery Canal, one of Britain's most picturesque canals, is benefiting from a £2.5m grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore part of the canal, as part of a £4m, four-year project.
The canal on the Shropshire/Welsh border is currently only partly navigable and is a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Rare aquatic plants, including Floating Water Plantain Luronium natans, will soon be given a secure environment by the creation of the three-hectare wildlife habitat within Aston Locks Nature Reserve. The site, which is expected to be complete by winter 2018, will also be home to a range of wildlife including damselflies, dragonflies, otters, water voles and a range of bird species.
We're inviting people to join our project manager David Hennessey and ecologist Sara Hill for a free tour around the site to learn why the reserves are being created and how they have been designed.
Due to weather conditions, the tour is being rescheduled for spring 2018.
Alongside the creation of the reserve, a further 1¼ miles of the canal, from Welshampton to Crickheath in Shropshire, will be restored to enable navigation by boat. The project also includes access improvements to the canal, with nearly five miles of towpath due to be upgraded. A comprehensive programme of events and activities to help the local community get to know their local waterway is already underway.
The walk is free and open to all. It will begin outside the Queens Head pub, Queen's Head, Oswestry SY11 4EB.
David Hennessey, our project manager said: "The Montgomery Canal is among the UK's most picturesque canals, and is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, wildlife and heritage. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players we have been able to realise our ambitions to help restore this beautiful canal. The behind-the-scenes tour at Aston Nature Reserves will be a great way for people to learn about this amazing resource on their doorstep, how it is being created and the benefits to wildlife. Don't forget to bring walking boots or sturdy footwear as the site is likely to be a bit muddy in places."
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "December is a wonderful time to experience the UK's rich, diverse and exciting heritage, which has been transformed by more than £7bn National Lottery funding since 1994. This is a small gesture of thanks and a way of giving something back to the people who buy tickets."