Berriew & Montgomery Canal

Thursday 28 June 2018 2:26

Places to visit

Berriew and the Montgomery Canal

 

The Montgomery Canal dates from the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was constructed mainly to transport limestone from the Llanymynech quarries and coal from Chirk and Oswestry to canalside kilns. There, quicklime was made to spread on fields to improve soil quality, and the yield of crops. With the increasing use of fertilizers, the use of the canal gradually diminished and was formally closed in an Act of 1944.

Today it is enjoying a major revival for reasons of recreation, environment, conservation and industrial archaeology. This is largely thanks to groups like the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, Heulwen Trust and Canal and River Trust, restoring the Berriew Section from overgrown and unnavigable, into a beautiful stretch enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, canoeists and even boat owners. Every Thursday a group affectionately known as the TRAMPS (Thursday Restoration and Maintenance Project Support) meets to undertake important improvements.

The Berriew section has a number of important features including a restored lock and the Grade II listed aqueduct which carries the canal over the River Rhiw. It has four segmental arches and is the second-largest masonry structure on the canal. First opened in 1797, it was largely rebuilt in the 19th century and fully restored in the 20th century.

The Berriew Community has a particular interest in the restoration of the canal, as the Refail winding hole could become the terminus when sections to the north of Welshpool are reopened to the UK network. This will bring marine craft to the area and visitors and trade to the village.

Berriew residents are members of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and the Community Council has recently received a presentation about the efforts being made to reopen sections. It is hoped that the community can actively support this work in the years to come so that full use of the canal can be restored and its full beauty appreciated.