Borderland Rotary members were treated to a crash course in canal restoration earlier this week, when Fred Barrett from the Shropshire Union Canal Society came and gave a talk and, with the help of an ingenious model explained exactly how the section of the Montgomery canal, from Redwith Bridge to Crickheath Wharf, has been restored.

Fred discussed the truncated restoration story from the Big Dig in Welshpool in 1969 to the current and future plans. He said, “I got involved in 2008 and became somewhat obsessed with the project which was then from Redwith to Pryces Bridge, just off the Knockin Road, near Maesbury. We completed that section in 2014 but boats could still not use it as there is no ‘Winding Hole’, or in laymen’s terms, turning point. We then set about the section from Pryces bridge to Crickheath Wharf. Now the wharf at Crickheath was then built by contractors so all we had to do was join them up – easier said than done”.

Fred demonstrated the method of restoration with the help of a model, made up from short lengths of guttering. He showed how the various layers of lining were positioned and how finally, concrete blocks, a mere 60,000 of them, were moved onto the canal bank and then slid down a chute to the bed of the channel and laid in position.

Fred continued, “Although volunteers use diggers and dumper trucks, the work can be quite physical as the 60,000 blocks had to be handled about three times to get them to their final resting place but don’t let this stop any prospective helpers from coming forward to help with the section to Schoolhouse Bridge, we have volunteers from 16 years old doing Duke of Edinburgh Awards to octogenarians – there’s work to suit all ages and skills so why not join us or at least support us as Borderland Rotary have, just go to  – I’ve loved every minute of my time on ‘the cut’ ”.


On the Monty L-R Tom Fulda (Project manager) Chris Bryan-Smith (Borderland Rotary) Fred Barrett (SUCS).

Fred Barrett with Borderland members.

Fred Barrett with canal model.