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Swansea Canal

The Swansea Canal is under active restoration. Swansea Canal Society is concentrating on the middle six miles from Clydach to Godre’r-Graig.

Swansea Canal Map

Facts & Stats

16 miles


The original length of the canal.

36 locks

There were originally 36 locks arranged in 10 flights along the canal.

Construction, Decline and Restoration

The Swansea Canal was built by the Swansea Canal Navigation Company between 1794 and 1798, and ran from Hen-hoydd near Ystradgynlais to Swansea’s North Dock Tidal Basin.  The canal was an instant success, transporting materials from mines and quarries to the sea, and remained prosperous until the 1880s, when the Grand Western Railway bought the canal company.  Initially the rail company promoted use of the canal, as it did not own the nearby rail line, but traffic dwindled away and by the turn of the century only the lower six miles were in regular use.  When the railways were nationalised in 1948, the Canal came under public ownership and was transferred to British Waterways in 1962, by which time only 5 miles remained in water.

Swansea Canal Society, formed in 1982, now promotes the canal for full restoration. Volunteers are working to bring Ynysmeudwy and Trebanos locks back to life, alongside the buried lock at Pontardawe.

IWA awarded £20,000 to the Swansea Canal Society’s Coed Gwilym Park Slipway Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants in 2019.


Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.