IWA’s Restoration Hub – a coordinating force
In 2020, IWA’s Restoration Hub was approached by IWA South Wales Branch and the Neath & Tennant Canals Trust. They were extremely alarmed at the deterioration of Aberdulais Aqueduct following damage during Storm Dennis and other flood events over recent years. There was also growing concern regarding the lack of transparency, conversations and publicly stated desires by key stakeholders to remove the Aqueduct. Some stakeholders believe the existence of the Aqueduct has contributed, in the recent past, to the flooding of the houses on Canal Side, Tonna. Studies have shown, however, that the destruction of the Aqueduct will not prevent the houses being flooded.
History of the Aqueduct
The Aqueduct was built in 1823 to allow the Tennant Canal to cross the River Neath. The aqueduct stretches over 130 metres and has ten arches. We believe the Aqueduct is of national importance. It is the largest aqueduct in South Wales and is of significant architectural and historical importance, and it should be preserved for future generations.
How the Hub is helping
IWA’s Restoration Hub is acting as the coordinating force behind the campaign to save the structure, working closely with the IWA’s Honorary Consultant Engineers , IWA’s Heritage Advisory Panel, IWA South Wales Branch and Neath & Tennant Canals Trust.
IWA has also engaged with key stakeholders such as Natural Resources Wales, Neath Port Talbot Council, CADW and members of the Welsh Government.
A CADW Scheduled Ancient Monument Grant has been utilised to commission a structural survey of the Aqueduct to get an up to date picture of the structure’s condition.
There is a long way to go to save the Aqueduct but our next steps are to form a heritage partnership bringing together the owners of the Aqueduct (Port Tennant Company), CADW, the local authority (Neath Port Talbot) and Natural Resources Wales to create a long-term management plan to save the structure for future generation as part of a network of restored canals in the area.