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Montgomery Canal

The Montgomery Canal runs from the Llangollen Canal at Frankton Junction to its terminus at Newtown.

Things to do nearby

Bee near a plant
cheering group of wrg volunteers in hi viz and hard hats
Gronwen Wharf on the Montgomery Canal
Historic boat descending through a lock flight
Steamship Danny, moored by the Pumphouse at the Albert Docks in Liverpool

Facts & Stats

35 miles

(56 km)

The length of the Montgomery Canal that is navigable. There is a further 17 miles (27.4km) under restoration.

25 locks


Year Re-opened

The canal was re-opened after restoration efforts following a burst in 1936.

From Llangollen Canal to Newtown

The Montgomery Canal is currently under restoration. The sections from Frankton Junction to Gronwyn Bridge, Maesbury (6.5 miles) and Ardleen (bridge 103 lowered) to Berriew (bridge 129 lowered) – a further 11.5 miles – are currently navigable.

This Montgomery Canal, as we know it today, was constructed by three different canal companies. It closed after a burst in 1936, then officially in 1944. Following determined restoration efforts by rhe Inland Waterways Association and Shropshire Union Canal Society, the canal was the subject of the first new Act of Parliament for the reopening of a waterway in 1987. Restoration is still continuing but there is now a sufficient navigable stretch around Welshpool to see hire boats operating.


Montgomery Canal restoration

Work is currently going on to remove the two serious blockages on the length of canal between Crickheath and the one mile navigable section straddling the Welsh border at Llanymynech.

With the Heritage Lottery Fund already supporting reopening the canal to Crickheath, this project is helping towards extending navigation by another couple of miles into Wales.

As well as opening up significant lengths of canal to navigation and reaching the landmark of the Welsh border, this work is also helping to narrow the gap between there and the 12-mile isolated restored Welsh section which runs all the way from Arddleen through Welshpool to Refail. Connect that up, and over two thirds of the canal will be continuously open – increasing the impetus to carry on right down to Newtown.

The Montgomery Canal runs for 35 miles from Frankton Junction near Ellesmere in Shropshire, to Newtown in Powys. Formerly part of the Shropshire Union Canal network, the Montgomery Canal was abandoned after a breach in 1936. Restoration started with a ‘Big Dig’ in Welshpool in 1969, and since then has received considerable support and assistance from IWA with volunteers from WRG and Shropshire Union Canal Society restoring many structures, including the locks at Frankton, Aston, Carreghofa, Burgeddin, Brynderwen and Newhouse.

As well as having one of the best collections of listed locks, bridges and other canal-age structures, the canal has considerable ecological interest which is an integral part of the restoration: IWA contributed the original nature reserve at Aston Locks, created by WRG in 1995 as their largest such project to that date, thus allowing the opening of the restored canal to Maesbury.

Restoration has strong support on both sides of the border, largely due to the considerable contribution made by volunteers over many years in work parties and with professional engineering, construction and other skills. A substantial bequest from a local member enabled IWA to fund the Aston reserve and IWA is assisting the Schoolhouse Bridge project with a significant grant from the Tony Harrison Legacy fund.

Restoration is promoted by a partnership led by Canal & River Trust, and including the local authorities, heritage and wildlife groups, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, IWA and Shropshire Union Canal Society.  The Restoration Trust also has a subsidiary Friends of the Montgomery Canal which promotes support along the line of the canal: The Friends organise the popular Montgomery Canal Triathlon each year, bringing visitors and raising funds for the restoration.

In autumn 2016 the restoration won a £2.53million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a £4.2million plan building on the Montgomery’s ecology, built heritage and communities that includes extending navigation from Gronwen Bridge to Crickheath. In addition, plans are well advanced to restore Schoolhouse Bridge, the last remaining road blockage in Shropshire, which will help the canal to reach the Welsh border at Llanymynech. IWA’s local branch is an active member of the team running the Restore the Montgomery Canal! Appeal.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 73′ 10″ (22.51 metres) – Frankton Locks
  • Beam: 7′ 0″ (2.13 metres) – Frankton Locks
  • Height: 7′ 0″ (2.13 metres)
  • Draught: 3′ 11″ (1.2 metres) – cill of Frankton Locks

Navigation authority

Canal & River Trust

Useful Info

Passage through Frankton Locks has to be booked with Canal & River Trust in advance (48 hours notice in the winter).

HS2: Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal

The latest HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement proposals affect the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal in the Wimboldsley area north of Crewe.

Local activities