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6 canal improvements courtesy of the Canal & River Trust

With the winter maintenance programme well underway on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, the Canal and River Trust (CRT) team are particularly busy. The type of work being undertaken, including the project to reline a stretch of the canal, was featured on the recent BBC Countryfile programme after presenter Helen Skelton visited the Mon & Brec. We thought it would be an opportune moment to look back at a few of the projects that the team at CRT undertook this summer. At that time of year, with the holiday season in full swing, planned maintenance work focusses on aspects of the canal infrastructure which does not disrupt navigation on the waterway.

Improvements to Pontymoile aqueduct number 16, between bridges 52 and 53

Before

After

Undergrowth was cleared away, and a wooded fence erected to improve safety in the vicinity of this aqueduct. There are eight aqueducts linked to the Mon & Brec; they carry streams, rivers, roads and path ways under the canal. Each one is numbered to assist CRT’s work, though there is no visible numbering on the actual aqueducts. Smaller channels that carry water into, under or out of the canal are called culverts. There are 82 culverts linked to the Mon & Brec.

 

Bank protection at Pontymoile between bridges 52 and 55

Before

After

To prevent the soft earth canal bank being eroded, coir matting pre-planted with indigenous seeds, was installed to create a sustainable bank.


Improvements to culvert 58 at Goytre, between bridges 72 and 73

Before

After

The stone facing to this culvert was rebuilt.


Improvements to culvert 50 at Llanover, between bridges 79 and 80

Before

After

The undergrowth was removed, a wooden fence installed above the culvert and the masonry re-pointed.

 

Bridge 96 at Govilon

Before

After

The route over this bridge was resurfaced with local stone to create a more even surface.

 

Access improvements at Castle Turn, between bridges 93 and 94

Before

After

The steps were improved and wooden handrails installed to improve access between the canal towpath and to enable CRT's engineers to inspect the structure safely.

 

It’s through upgrading structures such as these that the future of the Mon & Brec as an important holiday destination in the Brecon Beacons, is ensured. As a local business relying on this waterway, it’s so satisfying to see these works being undertaken, and to hear the positive feedback from regular visitors who often remark on recent changes to the canal.  

When you consider that the Mon & Brec is over 200 years old, it’s down to the hard work of the CRT team and the enthusiastic, local volunteers that this remarkable feat of engineering is still going strong. If you fancy lending a hand, take a look at the volunteering opportunities on the canal.