Horse drawn boats only for the Montomery Canal would leave it a swamp

Published: Thursday, 26 January 2023

IN VIEW of the shock demand that the restored Montgomery Canal should only be used by horse-drawn boats, we asked Michael Limbrey, Chairman, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust for comment:

“There have been suggestions that people should respond to the survey about the Montgomery Canal restoration by saying that all boat traffic should be restricted to horse drawn boats or indeed that the canal should be left alone.

Would just become a swamp

“This is very disappointing because for years restoration has followed our Conservation Management Strategy published in 2005 after several years of lengthy and detailed discussions with conservation authorities, Wildlife Trusts and others. Early discussions dismissed the idea that the canal should be left alone because aggressive and invasive species would then take over and the canal would just become a swamp.

“Because plants and wildlife in much of the canal have high legal protection and cannot be ignored the Conservation Management Strategy integrates nature conservation into the restoration with a series of canalside nature reserves. A number of these reserves have already been established and are attractive in their own right as a wonderful haven for wildlife (including rare species) and more will be created by the Levelling-Up programme. The Strategy ensures that while protecting its ecology the restored canal will be an amenity for residents and visitors, including boaters, with benefits for recreation, well-being and the local economy.


“The suggestion that only horse-drawn boats should be permitted is pretty impracticable for a number of reasons: there would be difficulties for towpath users—ramblers, anglers or cyclists and even, when they meet, other horse-drawn boats—and indeed where bridges do not have a towpath at all. This matches the experience of other horse-boast operations which have stopped working in recent years. For practical reasons there could not be many horse-drawn boats so the canal would not bring the area the economic benefits the Strategy and the Levelling-Up programme are designed to create.”

Michael Limbrey

Chairman, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust/Ymddiriedolaeth Adfer Camlas Maldwyn.