Yet another milestone as the Shropshire Union Canal Society – pubic-group on Facebook, welcomes its one thousandth member and invites him to visit the site and see the workings first hand and accept some Navigation Ale at the current restoration location on the Montgomery canal near Crickheath bridge (85), due south of Oswestry, as volunteers work on closing the Shropshire Gap.

Brian Mill, the lucky Facebook group member said, “I’m obviously thrilled and feel lucky that I happened to be the one to join the group, just at the right moment. I took my young children to an open day at Ellesmere Canal Yard and was fascinated by the history of the canal and the restoration work that’s going on in the area, so I decided to learn more about the waterways and restoration so came upon the Facebook group. Although I grew up in Oswestry, I knew little about the canal and it’s been great to visit the site, meet the volunteer and learn about the past and their plans”.

Building on the Montgomery canal began in the “canal mania” of the 1790s and soon became a busy thoroughfare for goods while two hundred years later the internet was developed in the “dot-com mania” of the 1990s and that also developed into a busy thoroughfare for ideas, information, and pictures of kittens. The Shropshire Union Canal Society realised that they must let themselves be dragged into the twenty first century and at the beginning of 2023 the opportunity arose. The Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which had made the restoration to Crickheath Basin possible, had a legacy element to it and CRT offered members of SUCS a six-week course on developing a communication group that would address all current forms of media, Facebook, Instagram etc. as well as traditional print outlets. The result is that the Society now has a presence across the internet and all media. Another outcome is Navigation Ale, a beer, brewed by Monty’s Brewery, near Montgomery. A member of the publicity group approached the brewery, and the firm were keen to support the project by brewing this tasty ale which helps to raise awareness of the canal and provides an income from every pint sold.

To learn more about this great endeavour, go to or Shropshire Union Canal Society – Public group on Facebook and get involved.

(L-R): David Carter (SUCS Chairman) presents some Navigation Ale to Brian Mills in the canal channel with volunteers looking on.

Picture credit: (SUCS).