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Second phase of dredging underway on Montgomery Canal restoration

Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales, has started the second phase of dredging on the Montgomery Canal as part of the effort to restore the 200-year-old canal so that boats can once again use it and to protect the manmade waterway for future generations.

The Montgomery Canal restoration has included decades of work by volunteers and partners. Now, over four miles of the canal between Llanymynech and Maerdy is being restored thanks to Glandŵr Cymru’s successful Levelling Up Fund bid in partnership with Powys County Council, supported by the Montgomery Canal Partnership.

This phase of the canal’s restoration is aiming to restore the channel so that boats will be able to use the waterway for the first time since the 1930s. It will also help make the canal easier to use for unpowered activities such as canoeing and paddleboarding.  The restoration is also creating a broad and sustainable habitat to support a range of wildlife and the protected floating water plantain that are found on the canal.

This latest phase of dredging is being split into two parts. The first, which will be completed in the new year, will see nearly a mile dredged from Bridge 99 to Vyrnwy Aqueduct. The work will also open-up the canal by cutting back overgrown vegetation and ensuring that dangerous or diseased trees are pollarded or removed as appropriate. The second part, just over half a mile from Bridge 101 to Bridge 102, will see the bank stabilised using coir roll and timber stakes, which will give the canal a soft bank ideal for wildlife such as water voles, wild fowl and invertebrates. This phase will begin in January and is set to be complete by March 2024.

Kathryn Woodroffe, project manager for the Montgomery Canal restoration, said: “This phase of dredging is another exciting step forward in the work to restore the Montgomery Canal.

“We are aiming to achieve a standard depth for boats to use the canal and ensure vegetation and tree cover that will enhance and protect the diversity of the canal ecosystem.

“The protected floating water plantain found in the Montgomery Canal, tends to follow the shade line, so we will look at maintaining overhanging branches, where safe to do so, to provide the ideal environment to encourage its growth. The work will also give us the opportunity to create and maintain a broad and diverse habitat to encourage wildlife.”

Councillor David Selby, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys, said: “I’m delighted to see more progress being made on this project which aims to provide long-term economic, cultural and wellbeing benefits for local communities, as part of our plans to make Powys a stronger, fairer and greener place to live, and we want that to be achieved as a result of having a wildlife rich and well managed waterway.”

During the dredging a footpath diversion will be in place where the footpath comes off the canal towpath across the farmland at Pont-y-Person.