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Funding boost for plan to regenerate historical canal system

09 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Lock House, Tonna, Neath

A council has secured a funding boost for a plan to regenerate a historical Welsh canal system.

£113,850 has been provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Places initiative to support the development of the Canal Connections / Cysylltiadau Camlesi project.

Neath Port Talbot Council will use the funding to develop a study examining future uses for the Neath and Tennant Canals – recognising their significance and unique heritage.

The Neath Canal was opened in 1795 and is 13 miles long, running from Briton Ferry through Neath Town Centre up the Vale of Neath to Glynneath.

The Tennant Canal was opened in 1824 and is eight miles long, running from Jersey Marine through Skewen and joining the Neath Canal at Aberdulais.

The linked canals are  rich in heritage and contain three scheduled monuments, a large number of Grade II listed buildings, 27 buildings/structures of local interest and a conservation area.


The council says the landowners of the two important waterways play an integral role in determining a long term sustainable future use for Neath’s canals.

The study will be part of a phased long term project working to secure additional funding to regenerate the canal system in a sustainable way – establishing it as a heritage destination which connects local communities.

Neath Port Talbot Council says the waterways can be improved to provide clean, green spaces for local leisure activity where rich biodiversity thrives.

Andrew White, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Wales, said: “Historically the canal network was at the heart of how communities and industry in Neath Port Talbot grew and prospered Canal Connections will keep them at the heart of community life with a new role and creating new opportunities.

“The canals will be at the centre of delivering heritage-led regeneration, they can support green spaces for leisure and exercise, support nature recovery and biodiversity and link people and communities creating new connections based on this historic transport network.

“Canal Connections is part of our ten-year Heritage Places commitment to Neath Port Talbot announced last year. Investing in people and their history, ensuring they are an active part in guiding regeneration and celebrating the heritage of the place they live builds a stronger and more resilient community. We see the benefits of long-term commitment to making sustainable change happen.”

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Nature, Tourism and Wellbeing, Cllr Cen Phillips, said: “Our canals are a fantastic resource both in terms of heritage and wellbeing and we are grateful for the financial backing coming from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for this important project.”

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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago

Glad to hear that some funding is available. I think that the first hurdle is that the canal is privately owned. It probably needs to come into public ownership, preferably for as small an outlay as possible. That the majority of it is derelict and those bits that are not were funded by outside bodies suggests that the owners don’t care. There must surely be a way of either pressurising them to upgrade it or give it away. To get the whole canal navigable would be a great boon. I notice from the OS map that the canal serves the… Read more »

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