learn more about our canal heritage, urges Neil Hamilton, Leader of UKIP Wales and AM for Mid and West Wales.

Mr Hamilton, party spokesman for the Environment, is urging people to attend an exhibition of the Montgomery Canal's waterway scenery and historic structures.

The display, which has already been on show at Oswestry Library and Powysland Museum Welshpool, is now at Newtown Library until March 30.

Mr Hamilton is a keen supporter of the country’s waterways and said: “The exhibition is a great opportunity to learn more about the fascinating history of the Montgomery Canal and I would urge anyone interested to make sure they do not miss out.

“Canals are very much part of our heritage and it is vital that we keep them functioning for future generations to enjoy so everyone has the chance to learn more about our heritage.

“The Canal and River Trust work with their hundreds of volunteers to restore our canals and keep them in working order. It all costs money so I hope the necessary funds will be there so restoration can continue.

“We should not under emphasise the popularity of canals and the increasing trend for people to holiday at home. By creating clear and attractive waterways, offering a variety of wildlife and fauna, not only are we safeguarding their future but we will also be attracting more visitors and tourists."

The exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the world of canal restoration and includes some shots of structures and wildlife, as well as showing the challenging mitigation measures the Canal & River Trust has had to put in place to get permission to restore the canal.

The trust, which cares for the Montgomery Canal and 2,000 miles of waterways, is currently working on a major project to restore a section of the Montgomery on the Shropshire/Welsh border, which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The major canal restoration project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Freshwater First ERDF Programme, supported by the Montgomery Canal Partnership, and delivered by the Canal & River Trust. Only around half of the canal is currently navigable but, with the help of the Shropshire Union Canal Society and other volunteers, this latest major phase should be completed by 2020.

The Montgomery Canal is also the subject of a new film “Life on the Monty”, which is a celebration of its wildlife, people and heritage, including rare footage of a young Prince of Wales re-opening Welshpool Lock in the 1970s. To see the film go to the Canal & River Trust website https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/montgomery

For more information, becoming a Friend of the Canal & River Trust or supporting canal restoration, go online at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk or phone 0303 040 4040. To support the wider restoration effort of the Montgomery Canal, go to http://restorethemontgomerycanal.uk/

CAPTION: Neil Hamilton, Leader of UKIP Wales and AM for Mid & West Wales and his wife, Christine, pictured with John Dodwell chair of the Montgomery Canal Partnership.