A NEW beer has been launched to help support ambitious plans to restore the next section of Montgomery Canal.

The 'Monty's Navigation Ale' has been created by Monty's Brewery in Montgomery, Powys, in association with the Shropshire Union Canal Society which is currently looking at restoring the historic tramway wharf in Crickheath, near Llanymynech, and another 200 metres of waterway just south of it.

It is the latest section to be worked on by volunteers who want to reopen the full length of the historic canal - which crosses the English/Welsh border - to tourists.

Russ Honeyman, commercial director of Monty's Brewery, said: "The restoration of this historic section of the canal is a marvellous project bringing further benefits to the community.

"When we were approached by the volunteers we were delighted to get involved."

Commission on every pint of the beer consumed will be used to purchase materials and hire plant equipment for the next phase of restoration by the Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS) whose volunteers undertake the physical work.

For logistical reasons, the brewery and the society will initially focus on pubs and outlets along the length of the Montgomery and Llangollen Canals - from the Newtown area in Mid Wales through Welshpool and Oswestry, to Nantwich in Cheshire.

Talks are taking place with pub owners ready for a significant sponsorship launch in spring 2023.

The ale, a 4.0% pale bitter, has been brewed to suit all tastes and to honour the navvies and boat people who developed and used the canal that was to serve the populations of the border counties and Mid Wales for more than 150 years until a decline in trade brought about closure and legal abandonment in 1944.

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One of the objectives of the fundraising, of which Monty's Navigation Ale is a key starting point, is to connect the national canal network to Schoolhouse Bridge, the last major obstruction on the Montgomery Canal between Frankton in Shropshire and Llanymynech on the English/Welsh border.

Volunteers from SUCS have been progressively restoring the canal from Redwith to Crickheath and have recently completed a 330 metre stretch to connect the newly-completed winding (turning) hole at Crickheath to the national canal network.

This project was supported financially by a £2.8million contribution from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Fred Barrett, SUCS publicity officer, added: "The benefit of the UK's waterways to the national economy is recognised by the Inland Waterways Association with most money being spent in the locality of the waterway.

"A fully-restored Montgomery Canal will be a great boost for jobs and businesses in the immediate area and indeed restoration has already benefitted local business with significant trade with plant hire companies and quarries and volunteers regularly staying in B&Bs and hotels."

For more information about Monty's Navigation Ale, contact Russ Honeyman via sales@montysbrewery.co.uk or 01686 668933.

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