Nature reserve unlocks Montgomery Canal restoration

Visitors tour the nature reserve (photo: CRT)

Visitors tour the nature reserve (photo: CRT) - Credit: CRT

The Montgomery Canal’s Aston Nature Reserve extension is being built as part of a Lottery-funded restoration project

A group of visitors are pictured on a tour of the Montgomery Canal’s Aston Nature Reserve extension, being built as part of a Lottery-funded restoration project.

The two new large ponds are being added to the existing reserve created by Waterway Recovery Group volunteers in the 1990s. Between them, they will form a habitat for rare species which currently occupy the unrestored lengths of the canal. Canal & River Trust project manager David Hennessey explained: “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 work is part of a £4m project which also includes five miles of towpath work and restoration of a one and a quarter mile length of the canal. It will include a winding hole (turning point) at the new terminus at Crickheath, and together with a section already restored but not yet opened, it will add around two miles to the navigable length.

Meanwhile the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust’s appeal continues to raise funds to reinstate School House Bridge on the next length beyond Crickheath, removing the last major blockage on the English length of the canal. And for the longer term, Montgomery

Canal Partnership Chair and longstanding waterways campaigner John Dodwell has suggested a target of returning the canal to its original southern terminus at Newtown for the town’s 750th anniversary in 2029.

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