Montgomery Canal Forum: Just Add Water
The Montgomery Canal Forum on 18 June was very
well attended, packing the
Council Chamber in Welshpool Town Hall.
Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, opened
the meeting noting that
on the wall of the Council Camber was a record of a
Trust meeting there 20 years ago
commemorating the 200th anniversary of the
first work on the Montgomery Canal.
Speakers at the Forum showed the value of the canal to their businesses. Mark
explained how he and his partner had looked for a canalside property,
set up in business on another part of the canal system, but had
found the Navigation
Inn at Maesbury Marsh. They had intended to stay for three
years, had now been there
for eight, and had no intention of leaving!
Iain Campbell told a similar story of
establishing Canal Central in what had
been an undeveloped site beside the canal at
Maesbury Marsh. Today Canal
Central acts as village shop and tearoom with other people
running bicycle and
canoe hire there, and the new horse-drawn trip-boat an added attraction.
speakers told how their businesses benefited from visitors to the canal, and
bring people to visit the canal.
Finally, Steve Evison from Underhill Farm in Pant, told of the development of
exploration centre where they host holidays, bushcraft courses, ‘eco’
wildlife and heritage exploration, naturalcrafts and other
activities, many of which
- such as early morning and evening canal safaris -
link closely with the canal.
Trust Chairman Michael Limbrey said, "The meeting had the title Just Add Water
a length of the canal in Shropshire is dry after sixty years of
dereliction, but perhaps
instead we should have called it Just Add Boats.
Restoring the canal to Llanymynech
and into Wales will bring boats which will
bring life to a canal adding to what visitors
experience, and most importantly
adding to the benefit to canalside businesses. Since
the restored Droitwich
Canal opened last summer there has been a substantial increase
in the number of
people using the towpath, and after only six months it was halfway
to its 5 year
target for boating visitors.
"Our speakers told us of their experiences,
what they add to the canal and how
it benefits their businesses and the local community.
"This was followed by British Waterways' Head of Enterprise Julie Sharman
us about the final arrangements for the transition of British Waterways
to the new
charity, the Canal & River Trust in July.
"Finally, the meeting heard about the exciting
events on the canal this year -
the successful Montgomery Canal Triathlon Challenge
on 2 June, with 180 people
taking up the challenge to cycle, canoe and walk the whole
canal from Newtown
to Welsh Frankton. Later this summer there will be the Pool Quay
Festival, on 7/8 July, and Maesbury Canal Festival on 1/2 September, which will
bring visitors from across the country to visit the borders of Shropshire
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