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We navigated the Montgomery Canal in 'Maid of the Mist' during the fourth week in May 2007 from Frankton Junction to the end of the northern navigation to just beyond Croft Mill Lift Bridge No.81 at Gronwen Wharf winding hole - the present terminus. A total of about 14 miles round trip. The Montgomery Canal is 35 miles of disjointed canal. We look forward to cruising the remaining 28 miles when it is conjoined in the next few years.
The Montgomery Canal is one of the premier canals in the UK for nature conservation with a range of rare aquatic plants present in the canal.
Boat numbers are strictly controlled under the auspices of British Nature as the canal forms part of a SSSI. An annual total of only 1250 craft are permitted passage (that's less than 4 boats per day on average). To govern this, there is a booking system operated by BW that permits 'booked' boats use of the Frankton Locks (down or up):
The Frankton Locks set times are:
Bookings can be made by phoning the BW Northwich Office on 01606 723800 between 09.00 and 17.00 daily, including weekends.
Navigation Notes: Length 70' or 21.23m; Beam 6'10" or 2.09m; Headroom 7'6"or 2.28m; Draught 2' 6" or 0.76m.
There are strict speed restrictions of 3 MPH from Frankton to Aston Locks and 2 MPH on the section from Aston Top Lock to Gronwen Wharf at the present terminus of the Montgomery Canal.
During the course of the trip amongst others we saw Tawny Owl and Black Pheasants.
Mile1: Through Frankton (Staircase) Locks under the guidance of Colin Payne the twice winner of Lock Keeper of the Year award , a charming man with a natural willingness to assist boaters, no matter what their experience.
About half a mile from the top lock is the Weston Arm short term (48 hours) moorings and water points. Picnic area and public car park adjacent to a wildlife reserve.
Lockgate Bridge No.70
Graham Palmer Lock, opened in 1995 allowing navigation initially to the Perry Aqueduct winding hole. The (now weathered) Graham Palmer memorial stone stands adjacent to the lock.
Mile 2: Perry Aqueduct, a modern aqueduct of no particular architectural note over the River Perry.
Perry winding hole.
The start of Green Wood.
Mile 3: Continuation of Green Wood, Berry Wood and open countryside.
Wildlife reserve on western bank.
Mile 4: Rednal Railway Bridge
Rednal Warehouse - Public car park adjacent
Heath House Bridge No.74
Corbetts Bridge No.75
Queen's Head winding hole and Queen's Head Wharf - 14 day visitor moorings - rowing club - Post box - Public phone booth (close by).
The Mill (Occasional) Art Gallery
Queens Head PH
Mile 5: Recycling Centre for Glass and Paper (in the Queens Head car park opposite the pub).
Public Car Park and Picnic Tables
2 Queen's Head Bridges Joint No.76
Aston Top Lock
Aston Middle Lock
Aston Bottom Lock
Mile 6: Red Bridge No.77
Park Mill winding hole
Park Mill Bridge No.78
St Winifred's Well - 'the well itself and the pool into which it flows are seen behind the cottage'.
Mile 7: White House Free Range Eggs! Very tasty
Maesbury Marsh Village
The Navigation Inn PH and Warehouse Restaurant, Maesbury Marsh, Oswestry SY10 8JB - Tel: 01691 672958 - Next to Bridge No.79 This historic stone, brick and slate building now home to a restaurant, modern vibrant bistro and village pub with canal-side beer garden offering a choice of freshly prepared food (all on the premises) along with a selection of British real cask ales, cider and wine cellar the 'Navvy' probably offers something for everybody’s tastes.
Maesbury Marsh Bridge No.79
Maesbury Marsh BW Wharf, Services and picnic area - A great facility with Water, Porta Potti, Toilets, Shower and Pump Out (BW service cards not available on the Montgomery Canal due to lack of cash banking for monies) The 'locals' have provided a swap library and welcome information point for visiting boaters. There is no rubbish disposal.
Spiggots Bridge No.80 with a shop just after it at Canal Central - very few provisions but wonderful home made food, Tearoom and Accommodation - closed Mondays.
Croft Mill Lift Bridge No.81 and boat yard - Limited 48 hour visitor moorings and alternative winding hole.
Maesbury Marine Services occupy Maesbury Hall Mill, Morton, SY10 8BB.
Picturesque Gronwen Wharf and final winding hole
Gronwen Bridge No.82 and END OF NAVIGATION (2007)
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