Boats to return after 80 year absence

Canal & River Trust ecologists Stuart Moodie and Sara Hill use an underwater drone camera to monitor the success of flora and fauna colonisation in the new nature reserve lakes Photo: Canal & River Trust Canal & River Trust ecologists Stuart Moodie and Sara Hill use an underwater drone camera to monitor the success of flora and fauna colonisation in the new nature reserve lakes Photo: Canal & River Trust
Industry Database

Boats are due to return to a section of the Montgomery Canal after an absence of more than 80 years.

Restoration of the canal on the border between Shropshire and Wales is well underway with the creation of two nature reserve lakes to provide a home for the rare flora and fauna removed from the canal.

Thanks to a four-year, £4m project run by the Canal & River Trust, boats should soon be returning to a section of the canal near Oswestry for the first time since the canal was closed following a breach in 1936.

“The Montgomery is a very special canal and its restoration has required a unique solution,” said project manager, David Hennessey.

Wildlife habitat

“The absence of boat movements over the last 80 years has allowed the man-made channel to become colonised by a wide range of rare flora and fauna. By creating a new three-hectare wildlife habitat, we will be able to protect and conserve these species for generations to come, while enabling boats to return by excavating the main channel into a navigation again.”

The Trust has been working with volunteers from the Shropshire Union Canal Society to upgrade nearly five miles of towpath, restore a mile of the canal and create a turning point for narrowboats.

The Montgomery is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the two nature reserve lakes have been constructed parallel to the canal at Aston Locks.

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