A CANAL could be set for an increase in visitors thanks to a charity project.

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has challenged people explore the UK's 3,500 waterways network, including Montgomery Canal.

Gronwen Wharf in Oswestry and Berriew in Powys are among 30 destinations that enthusiasts can visit to gain an IWA Silver Propeller Challenge plaque.

Michael Haig, IWA’s Shrewsbury District and North Wales Branch chairman Michael Haig said: “The Inland Waterways Association has supported the revival of the Montgomery Canal since the earliest days: indeed, members were expressing concern about its derelict state in the 1950s. In the years since, a huge amount of effort by volunteers of IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group and the Shropshire Union Canal Society has restored locks and bridges and rebuilt derelict lengths of the canal.

“Today the towpath is open for the entire 35 miles from Newtown to Welsh Frankton near Ellesmere, and half the canal has been reopened for boats.

He added: "It’s the boats that bring the canal to life of course, and the and the Association’s Silver Propeller Challenge encourages visits by all types of craft to the remoter spots of the network, some of which may even be as lovely as the Montgomery Canal in Wales."

The scheme encourages boaters, canoeists and paddle boarders to make more use of the less-frequented lengths of the nation’s waterways.

Mr Haig added: "The 11 miles of canal through Welshpool is one of a number of isolated lengths of waterway included in the Silver Propeller Challenge.

"This section is different from the others though, because a great deal of planning is in hand to restore the connection through Llanymynech.

“The planning includes the reconstruction of Schoolhouse Bridge, the last blocked road bridge in Shropshire. The Inland Waterways Association has provided a grant to help this project and is actively supporting the Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal which is raising the remaining funds for the bridge.

Mr Haig said: “We know from other canal projects across the country that a restored waterway brings benefits for residents and visitors and creates opportunities for new business.

"The Silver Propeller rules will have to be changed when Welshpool is once again joined to the national network – the sooner the better!”