The Llangollen Canal is Britain’s most popular holiday waterway – so what could be a more tempting prospect for restoration than the adjoining Montgomery?
Closed in 1936 after a breach (popularly blamed on burrowing water voles), it is being restored to navigation. Wildlife sensitivities mean the volunteer restorers have to proceed very carefully, and at present, two sections are navigable. Most boaters will experience the northern section, from the junction with the Llangollen at Welsh Frankton to the village of Maesbury and Redwith. But there is also an isolated restored length of 11 miles, around the market town of Welshpool. This sees little use at present but the restorers are very slowly bridging the gap.
Until then, the northern length is charming, particularly as you approach Maesbury with its wharf and friendly pub specialising in local food. This is quiet, agricultural country; even the busy A5 crossing at Queen’s Head is a relaxing place to stop. Frankton and Aston locks were rebuilt by volunteers (who call it the ’Mont’, not the ’Monty’) to an exacting standard. If this has whetted your appetite and you’d like to join them, whether as an armchair supporter or a shovel-wielding navvy, do sign up with the Friends of the Montgomery Canal or the Shropshire Union Canal Society.