NORTH Shropshire MP Helen Morgan recently made a fact-finding visit to the area of the Montgomery Canal near Crickheath accompanied by Coun Roy Aldcroft of Shropshire Council.
She was invited by Clive Robertson and Tom Fulda, both of whom are trustees of Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS) to look first hand at the current restoration project from Pryce’s Bridge to Crickheath Bridge.
A stretch measuring 200m has been fully restored and a further 330m is currently undergoing massive reconstruction by SUCS, which will be completed in the autumn of 2022 to join the existing winding hole at Crickheath Wharf.
The canal when reshaped will be lined with waterproofing material prior to being filled with water to test the work. The work also requires the laying of 40,000 concrete blocks; anyone interested in volunteering can find out more by visiting the Restoration page of the SUCS website https://shropshireunion.org.uk/
An opening ceremony will be held in 2023 which will enable boats from anywhere in the country to cruise to Crickheath and turn round there.
Other organisations including Montgomery Canal Partnership (MCP), Montgomery Waterway Trust (MWRT) and Canal & River Trust (CRT) provided briefings on the wider picture of Montgomery Canal restoration both sides of the border.
Describing it as ‘very impressive engineering’, Helen said: “The reconnection of the Montgomery Canal to the Welsh section currently undergoing Levelling Up funded restoration would be very beneficial to a wide section of North Shropshire and good joined-up government investment.”
Coun Aldcroft, who is deputy portfolio holder, Communities, Culture, Leisure & Tourism, added: ”I am very impressed with the work of the volunteers and the use of modern technology in restoring this important heritage site.”
Beyond Crickheath, there are two near-term future projects which are of major significance in the push to restore the canal to Llanymynech. The Schoolhouse Bridge reconstruction and Balfour Beattie survey of the remaining dry section to Llanymynech (some two miles) to enable costings and detailed restoration planning.
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