Walking the Montgomery Canal
10 miles - 2 locks - 5 hours (on foot)
Today's post continues my trip report, but the boat didn't move an inch from its mooring at Maesbury Marsh.
Restoration in progress
Part of the objective for this trip was to take a good look at the Montgomery Canal and as a restoration enthusiast, that had to extend to include the work being undertaken on the dry section at Pant. But one thing led to another and before I could help myself I had persuaded Belle and Jeff that it would be a great idea to walk the missing link between Maesbury and Arddleen - joining the two navigable sections.
As you can imagine, this walk yielded a huge amount of material which I want to post on the blog but rather than interrupt the flow I thought I wold give you a taster of the missing section and the practicality of including the walk into your visit.
Trip boat at Llanymynech
First up is the restored section, the stretch leading to the next winding hole at Crickheath Wharf which offers an insight into the anatomy of channel restoration, but this is no easy restoration. Whilst the canal bed exists, it is as dry as a bone even in the winter which is a sure sign it leaks. As far as I can tell, it leaked from the day it was built and so a new waterproof channel is needed for several miles.
All along the line beyond Crickheath and on to Pant, a distance of about 2.5 miles, the channel has been cleared and a good towpath installed. Its a lovely rural walk with primroses lining the route at the time of our visit.
Pant offered a good opportunity for refreshment but take care - the village is high on a hill and it's a stiff pull up from the canal.
The canal returns to water at Pant, sometimes shallow and sometimes deep, but it has all been restored for the next five miles. Not that its navigable for anything more than canoes an account of the several dropped bridges, but these are not insurmountable obstacles which can be overcome when the main line finally reaches the area. Llanymynech offers more scope for refreshment after which it all gets really pretty. The open canal comes to the two locks at Carreghofa, restored on the 1980's and is as pretty as a picture.
After that it is out to the Vernwy Aqueduct and on through the rolling fields to the remote but noisy Maerdy Bridge where the Arddleen by pass makes one of its two crossings at water level. By now we were a bit weary and the scenery became a bit dull, but we slogged on in anticipation of a meal at the pub in Arddleen. Sadly it wasn't to be, the pub was closed so we called a taxi which returned us to Maesbury for £15. (A-Z Taxi 01691 679911 or Jeff's Taxi 01691 671163)
Jeff's salvage project
We rounded off the walk with a fantastic bacon butty and tea at Canal Central.
If you make it to Maesbury and can spare a day, add this walk into your plan. The towpath is well maintained and by walking along it you will realise why the completion of the Montgomery Canal restoration is a must. If I were king for a day I would pause some of the other restorations and get this one finished.
I will return to this section for a series on the "missing link" another time. Who knows, by then I may have got my canoe out onto the Arddleen to Berriew section on the south and in so doing completed the whole line.