Monday, 19 October 2015

The Montgomery Canal

The Montgomery Canal meandered for 35 miles through Shropshire and east Montgomeryshire (now part of the modern Welsh county of Powys). It joined the Llangollen Canal at Frankton Junction and ran south west to the market town of Newtown. The northern section opened in 1796 and the last section to Newtown was completed in 1819. Its primary purpose was to transport limestone from the quarries at Llanymynech and the coal to convert the limestone to quicklime in canal-side kilns for use as a fertiliser, although it also carried other general cargo such as timber and building materials. Like many canals, competition from the adjacent and still open railway sealed its fate and it closed in 1936. However, some sections have been restored and reopened as a navigable waterway while other sections contain water but are unnavigable except for canoes. Other sections are dry, although a well maintained towpath runs along much of its length.  More information can be found on the CRT website.

Three of us walked the final eight miles from Garthmyl to Newtown.  Although most of this section contains water, the rebuilding of the A483 with low over-bridges has prevented it being navigated by large craft. Despite this, some of the locks have been very well preserved and new gates have been fitted to some of them.  It makes a very pleasant walking or cycle path.

We lunched at the friendly Abermule Hotel, half way between Garthmyl and Newtown, and which is reached by crossing a spectacular iron bridge across the River Severn, which runs close to the route of the canal. The bridge was cast in 1852 by the Brymbo Iron Foundry of Wrexham, which also cast some of the smaller iron bridges over the canal.

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