PRESS RELEASE

INLAND WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION : SHREWSBURY DISTRICT & NORTH WALES branch

IWAlk - Inland Waterways Association Sponsored Walk - Montgomery Canal - 27 August 2011

REPORT

Cambrian Heritage Railway -  Canal Central - Waterway Recovery Group - Duchess-Countess Project

Twenty-five canal enthusiasts joined IWAlk, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) sponsored walk organised by the Shrewsbury, District and North Wales branch along the towpath of the Montgomery Canal on Saturday 27 August 2011, between Llanymynech and Maesbury Marsh.  The event has so far raised nearly 400 and the organisers hope that more sponsorship donations may still come in.

The walkers started from the Canal Stables Visitor Centre at Llanymynech Heritage Area and walked alongside the reopened canal length used by the George Watson Buck trip-boat, run by the Duchess-Countess Project.

For the next two and a half miles through Pant the canal bed was dry and overgrown, showing how much has to be done to restore the canal and once again connect Llanymynech to the national network

At Crickheath walkers were able to see volunteers of Waterway Recovery Group continuing their work to waterproof the canal bed and were given a detailed explanation of what they were doing by WRG co-ordinator Alan Jervis.

Leaving this site they could see also the length being restored by volunteers of Shropshire Union Canal Society, who are also reconstructing the canal and making it waterproof to extend the navigable length of the canal.

At Redwith Bridge, the towpath led to the restored canal: the first length has been rewatered but cannot be used by boats until restoration reaches Crickheath where the canal is wider so that boats can turn.

For the final section of the walk, from Gronwen Wharf, the canal is restored and open to navigation, with boats moored outside the destination at Canal Central.

At Canal Central, we were provided with home-made soup and refreshment.

On the return journey, walkers were given the opportunity to see the railway restoration at the Cambrian Heritage Railway, by taking a trip on the train to Llynclys South, where more refreshment was available, before returning to Penygarreg Halt for the final hike back to Llanymynech, where the kettle was on!

Michael Limbrey, President of the IWA Shrewsbury, District and North Wales branch, said, “We were very pleased with the support for our event, from walkers and sponsors and from the other organisations which helped us on the day.  We were raising money for the Inland Waterways Association National Campaign Appeal to restore Inglesham Lock, where the Cotswold Canal leaves the River Thames, and for the 2012 Maesbury Canal Festival, promoting the restoration of the Montgomery Canal.

Our event was supported by the Duchess-Countess Project who provided facilities and refreshments at the start and finish of our walk, and by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, who arranged a display of the restoration at Canal Central, and a number of their members joined us on the walk too.

Waterway Recovery Group turned out on their work-site, although Saturday is usually a change-over day when volunteers join and leave their work parties, and they showed us how much they have achieved over the last three weeks.

"And with our visit to the Cambrian Heritage Railway we were able to see the efforts of another voluntary group.  The Montgomery Canal and the Cambrian Heritage Railway both rely on the support of their volunteers to recreate a part of our transport heritage and develop further opportunities for the local economy.

"Anyone who would like to support our event can still sponsor by following the links on the Inland Waterways Association website, www.waterways.org.uk."

END

Further Information

IWAlk:

See www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/iwalk___montgomery_canal

Inglesham Lock Appeal:

See www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/iwa_national__restoration_appeal___inglesham_lock_

IWA thanks for their help and support:

Friends of the Montgomery Canal – www.montgomerycanal.me.uk/mwrt.html

Duchess Countess Trust – www.duchess-countess.org.uk

Waterway Recovery Group www.wrg.org.uk

Canal Central – www.canalcentral.co.uk

Cambrian Heritage Railways – www.cambrianrailways.com/

Maesbury 2012: next year’s Maesbury Festival will take place on 1/2 September 2012 – www.canalfestival.co.uk. Profits from the Festival will be given to current restoration projects; in 2010 over 2,000 was donated by the Festival committee to the Shropshire Union Canal Society Buy a Barrow of Boulders appeal – see www.shropshireunion.org.uk.

Inland Waterways Association: The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.

The IWA believes that canals and rivers should be used for commercial and leisure boating and many other activities, including education, canoeing, angling and towpath walking. It seeks to preserve the ecological, heritage and architectural aspects of the country’s inland waterways for all.

Shrewsbury, District and North Wales branch is one of 35 local branches through which volunteers co-ordinate activities as diverse as policing planning applications through the waterway corridor, organising festivals and events to raise public awareness, providing engineering expertise, raising money for restoration schemes, and providing education on the value and benefits of their local waterways.

The Shrewsbury District and North Wales branch area includes some of the country’s finest canals, particularly the Llangollen Canal with its famous Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts, a World Heritage Site, and the Montgomery Canal now being restored into mid-Wales.

IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations. We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways.

IWA actively supports waterway restoration, and through its waterways restoration volunteering organisation, Waterway Recovery Group (www.wrg.org.uk), organises and subsidises over 20 week-long waterway restoration working holidays for volunteers of all ages throughout the UK each year, as well as conducting multiple work parties around the country on most weekends.  This particularly enables young people to participate in the preservation and restoration of our heritage, and in doing so learn construction and heritage skills.

More than 500 miles of canals and navigable rivers have been re-opened to public use since the Association was founded in 1946.  The Association is working to restore a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways.

Inland Waterways Association

www.waterways.org.uk

Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Bucks HP5 1WA

Registered as a charity No. 212342