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Montgomery Canal secures £2.53m grant

Created on 13/10/2016 @ 12:23
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Plans to connect Welshpool to England’s canal network have been boosted by a £2.53m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The news means that £4.2m worth of work can begin on a crucial length of the Montgomery Canal and campaigners believe that full connection is just 10 years away.

The bid, led by the Canal & River Trust - the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales - and supported by the Montgomery Canal Partnership, is a major step forward in the 47-year restoration of the historic canal. About 50% of the canal has already been restored.

With the help of volunteers, work is due to start in 2017 and should be completed in 2020.  It will see a further 1¼ miles of the canal and a ‘winding hole’ (turning point for narrowboats) reopen to Crickheath, Shropshire.

It will also improve access to the canal, create new nature reserves and improve almost four miles of towpath between Welshpool and Llanymynech.

The project is also supported with funding from Powys County Council, Shropshire Union Canal Society, Inland Waterways Association, and the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

Known for its outstanding natural beauty and heritage, the Montgomery Canal runs for 35 miles between England and Wales.

Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust said: “This is fantastic news. The money together with funding from other organisations will help carry out vital work towards the restoration of the Montgomery Canal which is one of the most beautiful waterways in Britain. I would also like to thank the volunteers for their continuing hard work which has kept the dream alive to restore the canal.”

The Trust will be working with the 15 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.

John Dodwell, chair of the Montgomery Canal Partnership added: “This is a major step forward in the restoration of one of Britain’s longest running canal restorations and fits into our recently announced 10-year restoration strategy for the canal.

“The vision of a restored waterway has been kept alive for almost half a century by an army of volunteers. The funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund will allow us to further tell the story of the canal and get more people from the local community involved in once again bringing it back to life.”

Michael Limbrey, Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, said: “Locally the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association have been a focus for that support with events and activities to promote the revival of the canal.

“Their events such as the Montgomery Canal Triathlon bring visitors from far and wide who enjoy the canal and discover the borderland area it passes through: plans are now well in hand for next year's Triathlon on May 6.”

The Montgomery Canal has already been restored in England from Lower Frankton to Gronwen Bridge, near Maesbury. In Wales, about 12 miles have been restored in the Welshpool area meaning 19 of the canal’s 35 miles are already fully usable.

The areas to be restored are the 7.5 miles from Gronwen to Arddleeen and the 8.5 miles from Refail to Newtown.


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