PLANS to restore the picturesque Montgomery Canal have received a major boost with a £2.53 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The success of the bid, led by the Canal & River Trust and supported by the Montgomery Canal Partnership, will enable £4.2 million of work to restore a further part of the canal to get under way.
It is seen as a major step forward in the 47-year restoration of the historic canal about 50% of which has already been restored.
Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, Michael Limbrey said they were delighted with the news and thanked the Canal & River Trust team which had worked over several years to achieve this success.
“The restoration of the Montgomery Canal is a project which has been supported for many years by local communities and waterway enthusiasts from across the country,” he continued.
“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.”
He said the project includes the restoration of the next length of the canal to Crickheath in Shropshire, continuing the achievements of the volunteer work parties of Shropshire Union Canal Society over the last few years. Their contribution has been matched more recently by local adoption groups which help to maintain the canal.
“Our ambition is to bring boats back to Welshpool in ten years, so that mid-Wales will again be joined to the 2000-mile national canal network, adding to the attraction of the area for visitors and providing an amenity for residents and opportunities for businesses and jobs.”
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 reopen to Crickheath. It will also improve access to the canal, create new nature reserves (needed in view of Site of Special Scientific Interest aspects) and improve almost four miles of towpath between Welshpool and Llanymynech on the English border.
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.