Victorian Powys for primary  schools
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Montgomeryshire Canal
  35 miles in 30 years  

on the canal

Photograph thanks
to Peter Kirkman's

Montgomery Canal

The Montgomeryshire Canal was built in three sections over a period of 30 years. Canal milepost The first of these sections, opened in 1796, linked the important limestone quarries at Llanymynech to the north of Welshpool with the Ellesmere Canal over the English border in Shropshire.
The second section, opened in 1797, continued the canal a further 16 miles to the south-west past Welshpool and on to Garthmyl. Part of this section of the canal is shown on the 1836 map below. The town of Welshpool is to the left of the canal in the shaded portion of the map.

Because the Montgomeryshire Canal was built chiefly to serve the agricultural needs of the county, it was never expected to make a lot of money for local landowners and investors. It was very much a rural waterway intended to serve local needs.

Canal at
on a map

The canal is
the blue line on
the left. The
twisty blue
waterway on
the right is
the River

Part of 1836 map
The transporting of limestone, lime, and coal was an important part of the Victorian commercial trade for many canals.
Some canals were built as close as possible to limestone
quarries, or tramrails were laid to link quarries with the nearest canal wharf.
The lime which resulted from burning the mixture of limestone and coal in limekilns was of great value as an agricultural fertiliser and for building purposes.
Old limekilns can still be seen today alongside many canals, including the Montgomeryshire and the Brecon and Abergavenny canals.

The last section of the Montgomeryshire Canal continued the route south-west to Newtown.
The Act of Parliament which permitted this extension of the canal was passed in 1815, just after the Battle of Waterloo ! The economy was in a very poor state after the Napoleonic Wars, and this final part of the canal was not to be completed until 1821.

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