Friday, 23 October 2015

Maesbury Marsh (Uninspiring Pant Investigation)



We decided to stay in Maesbury Marsh for the day and go for a walk along the un-restored stretch of the Montgomery canal towards Pant.  First of all we went to the limit of the navigation for us and turned the boat round and moored up just before we got back to Maesbury Marsh.  On the way to the winding hole we passed Saturn – the last surviving horse drawn Shroppie fly boat.  She is well over 100 years old and used to be in service 24 hours a day hence the term fly boat.  The main cargo carried out of this canal was coal and limestone.

We had one final lift bridge to negotiate…

…before hitting the winding hole at Gronwen where a three mile tramway used to bring coal trucks from the local mines to the boats on the wharf.  I was on my own turning here as Karen was waiting for me to come back through the lift bridge.  I misjudged it (my excuse was the wind caught me) and got wedged across a section the length of the boat.  Karen realised something was up and walked down to see what was happening and found me on the far side pulling the boat round by hand.  Anyway all was Ok and we were soon on our way back again.

We moored up and started walking towards Pant. After about ½ mile we reached the very end of the current section that is in water – only small craft like canoes can come this far as there is nowhere to turn.  Stanking planks were in place at the limit as work was being carried on in the next section – you can just make out the exposed handles of the top three planks.

The stanking planks were used to lower the (recently restored) next section by about 2 ½ feet so that contractors could re-point the stone walls.

This bridge marks the end of the lowered section which is the last section in water until Llanmynech about four miles further south west.

This 50 yard stretch is the next bit the volunteer restorers are working on.

We carried on walking and most of the old canal bed was like this with the odd bridge still in place.  Unfortunately we didn’t come across any interesting remains like old locks.

The canal bed had all but disappeared in this cow field.

We were surprised how sound the bridges looked but as Karen pointed out the ones carrying roads or tracks would have to be kept in good order.


A sewer has been laid along a lot of the bed of the canal so will need resiting before restoration starts.  This is one of the many sewer inspection chambers. 



Upon reaching Pant we left the canal by these limekilns.  You can't see it here but there is a house on top of the kilns with the uninspiring name of The Five Kilns.

For some reason we didn’t do any research on Pant before leaving and were expecting a pretty little market town.  We were disappointed as the town has a lot of modern housing and it is all strung out along a main road.  It is built on a hill so at least many of the houses have great views over the Welsh Marches or these limestone cliffs in the abandoned quarries.

When we saw this sign we immediately thought that it was bilingual as we were in Wales and what a great expression 'newt grid' would be in Welsh.  We were thinking that this would be one of the easiest and funniest Welsh phrases to remember when we realised that just ahead there was an actual  newt grid running across the towpath!

On our return, we spent the afternoon lazing on the boatand then walked down to the pub to buy some local produce and have a quick drink whilst we were there.  I have a weakness for pork pies but have to very careful to check the ingredients as I am allergic to some flavour enhancers which are often used in pork pies.  We couldn't believe that the locally produced pork pies contained an enhancer so I had to give them a miss.


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