THE MONTGOMERY CANAL
The canal received parliamentary approval in 1794 and originally ran from the Llangollen Canal to Newtown, Powys. It continued to be “in water” until 1936 when a breach occurred near Frankton Junction, below Lockgate Bridge. Despite a statutory duty to maintain the canal, the owners, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, decided to abandon it. In 1944 an Act of Abandonment was passed by parliament, stating that the waterway had not been used for some years.
Today, there are only some sections that can be navigated and thanks to the continuing efforts of the Waterways Recovery Group, the Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS), the Friends of the Monty and others, there is a stretch from the junction with the Llangollen Canal at Frankton Junction through to the B4396, Redwith Bridge. This stretch of around seven miles in length passes by “White House” and is more correctly called the “Llanymynech Branch of the Ellesmere Canal” which continues to just past bridge 94 where it joins the Montgomeryshire canal proper.
Perhaps there is insufficient political will (AKA votes to be had) to overcome the ‘lack of finance’ argument when it comes to the restoration of the remaining dry sections. With the status of British Waterways changing and with the attendant reduction in Central Government funding, the problem will only get worse. Voluntary organisations are doing their best but can only do so much and are also hampered by lack of finance and perhaps by the overzealous application of Health and Safety measures. In some places the canal has been filled in, roads have been built over the channel, bridges have been lowered and infrastructure such as pipes and manhole covers have been built in the canal bed, presenting several obstacles to restoration. The section from Freestone Lock to Newtown is dry, and no longer in British Waterways ownership.
There are some splendid walks along the canal, in both directions and some of the surrounding countryside is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest! Download the PDF for a selection of canal side walks.
Should you want to take a one way walk along the canal we will happily drive you to a convenient starting point so you can “walk home”