The focus of activities in 2023 will be a celebration of the first 225 years of the canal. Activities in ‘225 in 2023’ include an exhibition in the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, launch of a book giving the definitive history of the canal, a school video project, performances of a play written especially for and about the canal, and many other exciting events.
The 120m blockage at Clydach, where the Swansea Canal is diverted underground (known as the Hidden Lock Site), is now ready for restoration. This section, used as a highways depot by the City and County of Swansea from 1973, was generously donated to the Swansea Canal Society by them. Funding has been obtained, Swansea Council has given planning permission and work started in January 2023 to create a mooring basin and a by-wash around the restored Clydach Lock.
Working in partnership with Glandwr Cymru, the society will restore both the buried lock and the surface route to navigable use. Swansea Council has donated stone, recovered from demolished walls elsewhere, for use in the lock restoration. Between Covid lockdowns, SCS volunteers also added new plants to the wildlife garden in the site and built a retaining wall around it using the donated stone.
A similar stone wall was built by SCS volunteers around the society’s canoe store garden in Coed Gwilym Park, Clydach. The store has been painted and reroofed, work that was required to remedy damage done by the storms early in 2022. The towpath has been diverted to accommodate the new slipway. This project should be completed in 2023.
Dredging of the section of the canal from Coed Gwilym Park south to Pont John Bridge has been undertaken by Glandwr Cymru. The towpath along the entire length of the canal between Clydach and Trebanos has been resurfaced. Three new towpath benches have been erected by SCS volunteers near Trebanos Locks.
All the foregoing improvements will enhance the canal environment for the existing canoe and kayak hire project that continues to flourish, despite the ravages of the pandemic.
In 2021 SCS purchased a derelict commercial building in Clydach overlooking the canal. The building will be renovated with a new pitched roof and will become the Clydach Canal Centre. Structural and topographical surveys have been commissioned and the adjacent land has been cleared. Planning permission has been granted so work on the building will be completed in 2023. A mural depicting a canal barge, a bridge and a horse has been painted on the boundary wall.
The society’s website is being modernised and made available in Welsh as well as English. This will be completed early in 2023. The long-term vision of joining up the Swansea, Neath and Tennant canals through the Tawe River Navigation, to form a 35-mile waterway, is actively promoted by the Swansea Bay Inland Waterway Partnership.