Repairs to the Montgomery Canal near Aston Locks have been completed, enabling boats to navigate the whole of the seven-mile reopened length branching off the Llangollen Canal at Frankton for the first time for two months.

A leak in the canal bank was made more serious by its position right in the middle of a length of canal noted for its nature conservation interest, and immediately adjacent to the Aston Nature Reserve, built in the 1990s by Waterway Recovery Group volunteers as part of a programme of work to preserve the canal’s wildlife as the route is gradually restored and reopened to boats.

The repair work therefore included relocating nests, rescuing fish, and protecting reed beds, before repair work be begun. As Canal & River Trust ecologist Sara Hill said: “This site is renowned for its aquatic plant interest as well as the fringing reed beds which provide an ideal nesting habitat for birds, particularly reed warblers. All works were designed and undertaken with this in mind”. Project Manager Marc Evans agreed that this made it “a difficult site to work on” but added that the repair work (involving 120 metres of steel piles to a depth of 5 metres to stop the leak and strengthen the bank) had been “completed with the minimum of disturbance” enabling the canal to reopen on 17 August.

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