The chairman of an organisation that is supporting the restoration of the Montgomery Canal is appealing for volunteers to come forward to help with surveying and engineering works.
Michael Limbrey, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust chairman, is urgently trying to find a surveyor to survey a half-mile section of dried out canal through to the Welsh border.
“We want to restore the dry section of canal towards Pant but first we need a detailed assessment of what has to be done,” he said. “We already have the equipment and volunteers who will help but we need a surveyor to take the lead and check ground levels. If anybody is interested, we would be happy to show them the section.
“Over years of dereliction, the canal has degraded and we don’t know whether the channel is the right depth or if the towpath is at the right height and how much soil needs to be moved.”
Mr Limbrey said the surveying job would be ideal for a retired surveyor who wished to join the growing band of specialist volunteers working on the canal restoration project, which is gathering momentum.
The surveying work will lead to Schoolhouse Bridge at Pant, the last road blockage in Shropshire, which represents a major engineering task for the canal restorers. A £300,000 appeal for the replacement of the bridge is steadily climbing towards its target thanks to generous support from fundraisers.
Mr Limbrey said the Trust would also like to recruit volunteer engineers and architects who could create a vision for the canal in Llanymynech, Welshpool and Newtown.
“For example,” he said, “the canalside opposite the warehouse in Welshpool is semi-derelict but it could be a really attractive part of the town. We are looking for somebody that has a vision to create something interesting.”
Emphasising the popularity of canal sites around the country where people gather to watch the boats, Mr Limbrey hoped to see visitors congregate at sites along the Montgomery Canal at Queen’s Head, Llanymynech, Welshpool and Newtown in the future.
Half the 35-mile canal has now been restored. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, a derelict length of canal to Crickheath Wharf is being re-watered to extend the section connected to the Llangollen Canal by one and a half miles.