SHROPSHIRE canal volunteers have won a waterways award for their commitment in completing the difficult rebuild of the Montgomery Canal and its extensions.

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) praised the hard work of the Shropshire Union Canal Society by presenting them with the Tetlow Cup, a regional trophy for outstanding services to the waterways, after the rebuild and the two kilometres expansion of the canal towards the Welsh border.

Michael Haig, chairman of IWA’s Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch, presented the award at the Montgomery Canal Forum held at AICO’s magnificent auditorium in Oswestry on June 21.


He commented: “We had a difficult decision this year, as the Montgomery Canal has played host to two massive success stories – the raising of almost £1 million to rebuild Schoolhouse Bridge, and the re-opening of the restored navigation through to Crickheath Basin.

“Both have been multi-year projects, requiring enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity.

“But the extension of the navigation by around two kilometres has also required very high levels of skill by the many volunteers who have given several hundreds of hours to the project and has extended the boundaries of works normally considered suitable for volunteers.’

The project involved reconstructing 600 metres of canal channel across a former peat bog.

The section of canal had been disused for nearly eighty years and in many places the banks had disappeared.

Border Counties Advertizer:  Ictus steams towards Crickheath on the restored section Ictus steams towards Crickheath on the restored section (Image: SUCS)

Shropshire Union Canal Society chair David Carter said: “Our volunteers have worked tirelessly for eight years on a very complicated piece of construction work of a type not normally done by volunteers.

“In doing so they have overcome a whole range of ecological, construction and logistical challenges.

“They managed to complete the work to deadline, on budget and safely is to their very great credit.”

The society’s volunteers overcome several major challenges during the work including very bad ground conditions, high water local table, the need to relocate the resident Great Crested Newts, and Covid lockdowns.

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Mr Haig added: “The Shropshire Union Canal Society and its volunteers are worthy winners for their heroic work over eight years to complete the restoration from Pryce's Bridge to Crickheath.

“Those of us lucky enough to be at the re-opening ceremony in early June will always carry with us the memories of that fantastic event.”

A fresh funding appeal has been launched this month to enable the canal society and its volunteers to proceed at pace with the next stage of the canal restoration, dubbed Crickheath South.

This will take the canal from Crickheath Basin up to, and eventually beyond, Schoolhouse Bridge, where contractors are rebuilding the in-filled bridge to allow the canal, and the boats it will carry, to pass underneath.