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The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust News - old stories

Being a Local Tourist in Welshpool in 2009

Welshpool Canal: photo 1709-0009 © CPAT

Following the success of the 2008 event, Welshpol Town Council ran it's Be a Local Tourist Week again this year. On the 8th July a small but eager throng followed CPAT's Jeff Spencer on a guided walk along part of the Welshpool Canal. Jeff highlighted aspects of the waterway's history and discussed some other sites along the route. The Montgomeryshire Canal was constructed at the end of the eighteenth century to transport suitable timber out of the county to supply naval dockyards for ship building and to bring in lime to spread on fields to improve agricultural productivity. Both activities were a direct response to the ongoing war with France - so you could say that Welshpool's canal was a gift from Napoleon!

Those with keen memories will recall that after Jeff's walk around Welshpool as part of last year event CPAT receieved an unsolicited but most welcome email from a transatlantic visitor, from Forest Hills in New York, saying how much she had enjoyed herself. Imagine Jeff's surprise when the same lady turned up for this year's walk! She had been visting her Welsh relatives again, had seen the walk advertised and decided she just couldn't afford to miss it!

Two of Welshpool's oldest houses - although now much altered they both probably have their origins in the 15th century: photo C1713-0037  © CPAT

On the 10th July, CPAT's Chris Martin got a taste of Question Time when he sat in on a panel of experts (Colin Rogers, David Evans and Roger Brown) fielding questions about Welshpool's past. A dozen lively locals, but no American visitors, formulated all sorts of interesting queries ranging across 2000 years of the town's history and certainly kept the panel busy. Listening to some of the more recent reminiscences it was stricking to see how life has changed in Welshpool in the past two or three generations and how much the pace of that change now seems to be accerlerating.

You can find out more about the history of Welshpool by following this link.

Chris Martin, July 2009

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