Montgomery Canal Survey
CPAT has recently completed a landscape archaeology assessment for British Waterways as part of the Montgomery Canal Conservation Management Strategy, in connection with ambitious proposals to restore and reopen the canal. The built heritage, specifically in relation to canal structures, is the subject of a separate study.
Right: Montgomery Canal at Frankton Locks where it joins the Shropshire Union Canal © CPAT 03-C-500
The Montgomery Canal was built in stages between 1794 and 1821, and runs from the Shropshire Union Canal at Frankton Locks to Newtown. The majority of the canal (36.3km) lies within Powys, with the remaining section (16.8km) within Shropshire. The canal originally consisted of four distinct schemes, which have only been linked together in name under modern ownership, three of which were constructed to carry and distribute lime for agricultural purposes from the Llanymynech Quarries.
Left: Montgomery Canal at Belan Locks, south of Welshpool © CPAT 03-C-224
The assessment identified the known archaeological sites along the canal corridor with a view to assisting with their future management and the development of the restoration proposals. The canal passes through a rich archaeological landscape which preserves traces of human activity dating from the Bronze Age to the present day. Among the more obvious landmarks are the Norman motte and bailey castle at Luggy, and the earthworks of the Cistercian abbey of Strata Marcella, to the north of Welshpool. A number of important archaeological sites along the canal have been identified as cropmarks from aerial photography and although there may be no visible traces above ground significant remains are often preserved beneath the ploughsoil.
CPAT has also been engaged to carry out an aerial photographic survey of the canal, providing detailed photography of some of the main structures as well as more general views of some of the canalside settlements such as Berriew, Pool Quay and Arddleen.
Nigel Jones, July 2003
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