A well-attended Montgomery Canal Forum at Oswestry on 2 August 2010 was addressed by Alison Patrick, Tourism Officer of Shropshire Council and Jason Leach, Montgomery Canal Regeneration Manager for British Waterways.

Trust Chairman Michael Limbrey said, "It is thirty years since the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust was formed to promote the restoration and development of the Montgomery Canal, working with British Waterways, the local authorities and other statutory and voluntary organisations.

“We believe that the Montgomery Canal has much to offer the local area with its valuable heritage ― both locks, bridges and other structures, and its important wildlife habitats ― and as an amenity for residents and visitors.

“Alison Patrick underlined the importance of the Montgomery Canal, with its link to the World Heritage Site at Chirk, as an important part of the visitor attraction of north-west Shropshire. This applies to Montgomeryshire too. Shropshire is promoted in the UK and abroad as somewhere new and different to explore and the Montgomery Canal is a unique part of our national waterway network. We believe that the canal has more yet to offer as an amenity for local residents and an attraction for visitors, and we were reminded that most visitors to our waterways do not come by boat, but are ramblers, anglers, or just people who like to watch the boats go by.

“Before coming to the Montgomery Canal Jason Leach had worked within British Waterways on the Rochdale, Cotswold and Droitwich canal restorations and his experience will be valuable to us here.

“Jason showed us how the Montgomery Canal would benefit from British Waterways' experience on other canal projects, both with the newly-built Liverpool link and the restoration of other derelict waterways. He showed us how other projects had overcome far greater difficulties than we have: the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal even involved creating a tunnel under a factory ― and now there are plans to demolish the factory and open up the canal as a local amenity.

“This means that restoration of the Montgomery Canal is entirely realistic. It will involve creating areas of off-line nature reserve to protect the canal's ecology, reinstating some road crossings, and rewatering the dry section at Pant. The nature reserves could assist farm diversification and could even become attractions in their own right.

“He pointed to the benefits of restoration, with the reopened Kennet & Avon Canal bringing additional spending of £14million a year into its area. Restoration of the Montgomery Canal will protect local communities, with their shops, pubs and post offices, and even create opportunities like the new Canal Central at Maesbury, the site of the Maesbury Canal Festival, which will be busy with boats and visitors on 4th and 5th September.

“The message that impressed us most was that restoration of the canal is entirely feasible, and that restoration will be a major boost to the local economy, bringing the benefits that other areas already have from their reopened canals.

“The volunteers of Shropshire Union Canal Society and Waterway Recovery Group have been hard at work this summer to carry the restoration forward. Over half the canal has already been reopened, and many locks and other structures have been restored too, and now there are just three miles to be restored to bring the canal to the border.”



Michael Limbrey, Chairman, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust

Greenfields, Weston Lane, Oswestry.

Tel: (day) 01743 350571; (home) 01691 654081