THE last obstacle to the restoration of the Montogomery Canal is now officially clear and open, with a parade of classic vehicles marking the occasion.

The Schoolhouse Bridge, in Crickheath near Pant, was officially opened by Shropshire Council chairman and Llanymynech councillor Vince Hunt last week.

Cllr Hunt congratulated the team as he cut the ribbon to allow the vehicles to cross, including a 1931 Sentinel Steam waggon, 1910 Burrell Traction engine, 1954 Citroen, 2008 Morgan 4/4 Sport, and a 1979 Lomax three-wheel kit car.


Michael Limbrey, chairman of the Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal paid tribute to the volunteers responsible for the work and says the challenge is now to restore the canal further.

He said: “Our canal groups are very proud of Schoolhouse Bridge, the biggest volunteer-led project in the years of restoration and a vital step in opening up the canal to the Shropshire border.

“Government funding is helping to revitalise the canal in Powys and our challenge is now to reopen the canal through Schoolhouse Bridge to the border at Llanymynech.

“After the success of the appeal for the bridge, our Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal is now raising funds so that volunteers can continue restoring the canal channel from Crickheath where it was reopened last year.

“Donations to help will be welcome at

“The restored Montgomery Canal will be a great asset for the borderland area. It is already part of popular towpath routes joining market towns and historic locations and has a remarkable collection of canal-age locks bridges and other structures.

“At the same time, as a byway of the national canal network it has a valuable ecology with rare and protected species which are safeguarded as part of the restoration strategy.

“Many revived canals across the country provide recreation and amenity, visitor attractions, protected wildlife and built heritage.”

Schoolhouse Bridge was the biggest obstruction in the Shropshire Gap, the remaining dry section of the canal in Shropshire, and the £1 million campaign to restore it was backed by boating celebrity actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales.

Michael added: “We were delighted to receive donations from near and far including charitable trusts like the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund, Inland Waterways Association and the Walker Trust.

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“We are most grateful to them all.

“As well as the funding, our volunteer team had to arrange the engineering design and legal documentation, with many hundreds of pages needed to meet regulatory and technical requirements.

“The project was greatly helped by Shropshire Council and the Canal & River Trust too. Other volunteers have helped on site, some coming many miles to do so, and they will be back.”