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Concerns for canal which was once pristine

17 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Overgrown vegetation covering the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at Ty Coch Lane, Cwmbran

Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

The once “pristine” water of a section of canal running through Cwmbran is covered in a blanket of green, prompting concerns for the future of the waterway.

Boats can travel nearly 36 miles along the canal from Brecon to Five Locks at Cwmbran, and it has been a long-term ambition for local authorities to eventually re-open the route to Newport – though the cost of this is estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds and has proved prohibitive.

But retired engineer Roger Leaman, who lives alongside the unnavigable lower section of the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, at Ty Coch Lane on the southern side of Cwmbran, said he is concerned as the water is covered by overgrown vegetation.

He said the restored sections at Edlogan Wharf, at Sebastapool, and Goytre Wharf, are an example of how the canal can look.

“This canal used to be pristine,” he said. “As a child I remember workmen, we used to call them council men, would be stood on the banks raking it. They would throw out long rakes and drag up all the weeds, they would do it every year without fail and the water was beautiful just like it is now at Edlogan Wharf.”

“Plants have grown all over the canal and it would be nice to see the water,” added Mr Leaman, 82, who has contacted his Torfaen county councillors about the issue: “I can’t walk so far nowadays but hundreds of people walk and cycle along the canal here.”

Strategic vision

Two Locks councillor Peter Jones chaired the council’s cleaner communities committee during the 2017 to 2022 council term which produced a report on the “development of a strategic vision” for the canal.

As a result the council, last autumn, appointed a canal officer to coordinate efforts by it and partners to try and develop the attraction and seek grant funding.

Councillors are due to be updated on progress made since at a meeting on Monday, September 26.

Cllr Jones said he shared concerns about the condition of the canal.

“We all want to see improvements to the canal,” he said.

“This part of the canal used to be used a lot for fishing but even that is difficult now with all the weeds.”

His ward colleague Cllr Colette Thomas said she is looking forward to seeing the recently appointed officer’s report.

“I hope to see some progress on the action plan,” she said. “The council has appointed an officer we’ve got to give her a chance to come back and I’m hoping to see some improvements on the canal.”

Glandwr Cymru, the Canal and River Trust in Wales, only manages the canal as far as Bridge 47/Solomon’s Bridge near Pontypool. Torfaen Borough Council was approached for comment.

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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

Our beautiful country trashed because of The English Establishment….

God Scathe The King.

Dirk Shorn David
Dirk Shorn David
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Explain what it has to do with England then?

John Rogers
John Rogers
1 year ago

Every year the council men would throw out long rakes and clear all the weeds. The water was pristine and you could fish in it. Well my question is, what happened to the council men with their long rakes ? Was it a cut in the budget ? What’s the betting the men with long rakes would cost less than a canal officer and a report that has taken some length of time to be produced.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 year ago

The taxes we pay must be spent to improve infrastructure here in Wales and not taken and spent in England on their jollies. It is the UK establishment that denied us the funding for full electrification of the south Wales mainline, but won’t let us own & control our own railway infrastructure, our own taxes, our own justice and law system, and even our beaches! Yet, they spend more on a parallel tube line to SWR to the closed Battersea power station, but that of course is in London. When will our people wake up ? When will Welsh Labour… Read more »

Alan Jones
Alan Jones
1 year ago

There is a sign on the opposite side of the canal near Sebastopool erected by Torfaen council stating this section of the canal is in their jurisdiction. It’s at this point onwards throughout the Cwmbran stretch that the neglect & over development begins, the area of Edlogan wharf is somewhat better but partly because of the housing development taking place where the developer’s don’t want the area looking unkempt to prospective property buyers. Sporadic tidying up does take place but even fallen trees can take months to clear (although the footpaths are cleared fairly quickly tbf). The council has not… Read more »

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