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Tree damage causes delay to works on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

We've been working to repair the damage caused by a number of trees falling onto the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. Whilst most have been removed, three have been especially difficult to tackle due to their extremely large size and the remoteness of the sites.

Large fallen tree blocks the canal and towpath

A freak event

These, together with a freak event where the limb of a tree punctured the bed of the canal to damage an historic culvert beneath, will mean a short delay in the canal reopening following winter maintenance.

Around 30 trees were blown down along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal during the recent storms. Two of the particularly large trees still to be cleared are near Llanellen and one near Llangattock. The tree whose limb punctured the bed of the canal is between Talybont and Pencelli. Fortunately, this stretch of canal had already been temporarily drained by the Trust as part of its winter programme of planned maintenance and repair to keep the historic canal navigable for boats.

Delays in reopening

Mark Evans, our director for Wales and the South West, said: “The recent storms caused havoc, blowing down many trees on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. I give my sincere apologies to boaters as the remaining handful of trees still to be cleared, together with the repairs now required to the canal bed and culvert, will mean a delay in reopening the canal from this week to early April.

“The trees that fell are unusually large and, coupled with the difficulty in accessing the remote sites, have proved a real challenge to our team and contractors, who are working hard to safely remove them. They also damaged one of the culverts under the canal: fortunately the canal was already intentionally drained for works, meaning more damage wasn't caused by water escaping uncontrolled from the canal.

“I know what an impact this will have on boaters, local businesses, visitors and the community, who will have been hoping to get moving and enjoy the canal after the long winter. I apologise for the delay and assure you we are making every effort to complete the works as quickly and safely as possible.”

Our winter programme

Every winter we carry out a programme of essential maintenance and repairs across the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers it looks after, to protect and preserve them for navigation and for the local communities they run through. This year the spend on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal exceeds £150,000.

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 23 March 2022

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