Marine Cruises for a canal holiday on the Montgomery Canal
A Canal Holiday on the Montgomery Canal
The Montgomery Canal runs for 38 miles from Frankton Junction on the Llangollen Canal near Ellesmere down the Welsh border to Newtown in Montgomeryshire, now part of Powys. However the canal was closed after a breach in 1944 and only a short restored section just under ten miles long can currently be reached from the Llangollen Canal. There is also an isolated 17 mile stretch in water around Welshpool.
So why would you want to spend your canal holiday cruising such a short stretch of canal? For one thing the scenery is superb, long views across open farmlands to the Welsh Berwyn Mountains and beyond to Snowdonia. During its long sleepy abandonment it became a haven for wildlife and plants. Historic interest is provided by the locks and the old warehouses at Rednal and Queens Head, and there’s good refreshment from the pubs and restaurants at Queens Head and Maesbury. The whole route is quiet and rural, and because access to the canal is controlled by the lock keeper at Welsh Frankton there are only a limited number of boats on the length at any one time. A canal almost to yourself, What a delight after the bustling Llangollen Canal! Frankton Locks are only manned between 12 and 2pm each day and you must book your passage through, no later than 10am that day, by ringing British Waterways Border Counties Office on 01606 723800.
You could decide to explore past the current limit to navigation at Gronwen Wharf because the towpath is open to walkers all the way through to Newtown. Just a stroll of a few miles down to Llanymynich has lots to offer, including the continuing canal restoration works, amazing old lime kilns and tramway remains and steam railway restoration works.
Volunteer working parties continue to work towards full restoration for boats as well. The Montgomery Canal was one of the first canals to be considered for reopening by the emerging canal enthusiast movement in the 1960s but a long and dogged restoration campaign is only slowly achieving results. Progress has been slow because of the need to preserve a balance between the needs of boaters and the important ecology that developed in and around the canal during the years of dereliction. Enjoy it while you can!
Montgomery Canal facts…
Runs from near Ellesmere, Shropshire to Newtown, Powys
Junction with the Llangollen canal at Frankton Junction
Full Length 38 miles
Navigable length from rest of system 10m
Length Isolated section near Welshpool 17 miles