THE Montgomery Canal Forum, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the waterway, held at Welshpool Town Hall showed that many businesses are making use of the waterway.
Michael Limbrey, Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, opened the meeting, whose speakers showed the value of the canal to their businesses.
No intention of leaving
Mark Baggett explained how he and his partner had looked for a canalside property, intending to set up in business on another part of the canal system, but had found the Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh. (Pictured.) They had intended to stay for three years, had now been there for eight, and had no intention of leaving!
Iain Campbell told a similar story of establishing Canal Central in what had been an undeveloped site beside the canal at Maesbury Marsh. Today Canal Central acts as village shop and tearoom with other people running bicycle and canoe hire there, and the new horse-drawn trip-boat an added attraction.
Steve Evison from Underhill Farm in Pant, told of the development of their exploration centre where they host holidays, bush-craft courses, eco birthday parties, wildlife and heritage exploration, natural crafts and other activities, many of which—such as early morning and evening canal safaris—link closely with the canal.
Other speakers told of their experiences, what they add to the canal and how it benefits their businesses and the local community.
Trust Chairman, Michael Limbrey, explained:
"The meeting had the title Just Add Water because a length of the canal in Shropshire is dry after 60 years of dereliction, but perhaps instead we should have called it Just Add Boats.
Later this summer there will be the Pool Quay Canal Festival, on 7th and 8th July, and Maesbury Canal Festival on 1st and 2nd September.
"Restoring the canal to Llanymynech and into Wales will bring boats which will bring life to a canal adding to what visitors experience, and most importantly adding to the benefit to canalside businesses. Since the restored Droitwich Canal opened last summer there has been a substantial increase in the number of people using the towpath, and after only six months it was halfway to its 5th year target for boating visitors.