The following is a timeline of the history of our Trust, and the milestones of the Mon & Brec canals restoration that we have been involved in with our partners. Also included are some earlier canal restoration events, and some significant engineering events/incidents.
Click any photo in the timeline for a larger view.
Title photo above: Bridge 129 Panteague Bridge Llangynidr, ©John Foster, used with permission.
Last commercial boat to Moderator Wharf in Newport
Last commercial cargo was carried on the Monmouthshire Canal’s main line
The UK Government nationalised virtually all of Britain’s waterways. The Monmouthshire Canal and Brecknockshire & Abergavenny Canal were grouped together as the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and put under the authority of the British Transport Commission.
The British Transport Commission classifies the Mon & Brec canal as a “Remainder Waterway”. In effect not having a future.
The Brecon to Pontypool section is redesignated by the recently created British Waterways Board from “Remainder Waterway” to “Cruising Waterway” status.
The section from Pontywaun to Crumlin was filled in and used as the route for a new dual carriageway road (A467). The road also severed the canal from its main water supply at Pen Y Fan Canal Reservoir, (now widely referred to as Pen y Fan Pond)
Canal Restoration begins. Promoted and funded in part by the newly designated Brecon Beacons National Park (now known as the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park). The first major works were started with the rebuilding of Brynich lock, and restoration of the Brynich Aqueduct south of Brecon.
Electric drawbridge installation completed at Talybont-on-Usk. Contract price for reconstruction of this bridge was £12,721.11p. Local residents protested during the construction to ensure there were sufficient safety measures in place to protect the public whilst the bridge was being operated.
The Newport Canal Society achieved the restoration of Gwasted Mawr Lock 34 in 1973/74 by funding through an Education project. The lock was restored and re-gated by a maintenance team from British Waterways (River Severn region).
A major breach occurred on the Brecknockshire & Abergavenny Canal due to a channel failure and embankment slip above Llanfoist. The canal had to be closed while the breach was repaired by BW staff from Govilon supported by engineers from Gloucester. A 4 mile stretch of the canal bed was lined with concrete.
Gwent County Council opens Fourteen Locks Canal Centre
Public Inquiry into construction of Cwmbran Drive/Greenforge Way. Local Canal Societies objected, but Secretary of State allowed Cwmbran Development Corporation to destroy 500m of canal.
Formation of Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust Ltd by combining two existing groups – the Newport Canal Society and the Torfaen Canal Preservation Society.
Ashford Tunnel reopened to navigation
Cambrian Cruiser marina established at Pencelli
IWA and MBACT organise National Trailboat Festival at Pontymoile BasinPhoto by Brian Forder, a supporter of the canal
Toilets constructed at Pontymoile Basin by the unemployed through a Youth Training Scheme arranged through a partnership with the Trust, Council and British Waterways.
Reconstruction of Crown Bridge from the existing culvert, and opening ceremony with MBACT Chairman Brian Forder at the helm taking the Mayor of Torfaen and the Mayor of Newport through the new navigable bridge.
Heavy rain caused the embankment to collapse at Talybont On Usk. Residents were evacuated but the canal embankment collapsed sending water, soil and rubble down the main street flooding 15 houses and the Star Inn. The 30 foot hole was repaired and the canal bottom was lined with concrete. Repairs took 4 months.Photos www.talybontonusk.wales
A MBACT member saw that the embankment at Llanfoist was cracking. The canal was quickly dewatered and the concrete lining was found to be cracked. A temporary “Tunnel of Love” was installed to allow boat passage whilst repairs were done over a 6 month period.
Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Regeneration Partnership set up between MBACT, local Councils and British Waterways
New Northern terminus canal basin and theatre at Brecon created.
Malpas Link Planning Study – Ian Walker Assoc./Rust Consulting. Feasibility of a canal to River Usk link.
Start of Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Regeneration Partnership restoration project
Ash Tree Bridge 32 restoration work with IWA Waterways Recovery Group
New Terminus Mooring Basin constructed at Five Locks
Newport section of Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal declared a Conservation Area – Newport County Borough Council
Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Regeneration Partnership produces “Technical and Financial Feasibility” Study on Restoration – Hall Aitken Associates
Restoration of Ty Ffynnon Lock No 36, Newport
Millennium Celebration Boat Rally at Brecon Basin organised by the Trust with British Waterways.
Restoration of Tamplin Lock No 37, South of Pentre Lane. Work was sponsored by Hemming Waste
Trailboat Rally held at Kimberly Park, Newport which attracted 6,000 visitors and 37 Boats
New slipway constructed near Bettws Lane Bridge, Newport
Restoration of Bettws Lane Lock No 35, Newport
New slipway built at Pontywaen – Caerphilly CBC and MBACT partnership
Trailboat Rally held at Cwmcarn with new slipway and 22 boats attending
Successful Public Campaign to persuade Caerphilly CBC not to culvert large sections of the Crumlin Arm
The Trust, with support from the WRG and Contractors restore Cefn Wharf Lock No 21 at the top of the Fourteen Locks Flight
British Waterways makes major policy and structure changes – Wales became an autonomous business region within BW structure. BW withdrew from practical regeneration projects on the Mon and Brec canal.
Crindau Marina Proposal – Market Research, Feasibility and Viability Study – British Waterways
“Waterways for Wales” – British Waterways and Welsh Government Vision for restored canals in Wales, including the Mon & Brec
First Waterway Recovery Group work-camp on Torfaen CBC property with work on Ash Tree Bridge.
At the time the Trust’s most successful Duck Race at Llangynidr with over 36 boats attending
IWA Waterway Recovery Group Bonfire Bash – 400 WRG and MBACT volunteers spend 3 days cutting back overgrown vegetation from the Fourteen Locks Flight
Newport Unlimited publishes Masterplan which includes proposal for Crindau Marina and River Usk link.
Gwasted Mawr Lock No 34, Malpas re-gated
Restoration of Gwasted Lock No 2, Crumlin Arm, Newport
Inland Waterways Association, National Trailboat Festival held at Kimberley Park Newport. Organised and run by MBACT in partnership with Newport City Council
Dredging and relining, canal between Cefn Wharf Lock and Ruskin Avenue, Newport
Canal awareness day in Cwmbran included entertainment and boat trips on the canal on Edith-Elizabeth operating as 2 boats
Slipway built at Fourteen Locks top pound
School liaison group take part in project to maintain footpaths around Fourteen Locks
Presented with CPRW Care of the Local Environment Award
Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Regeneration Partnership submits Big Lottery – Living Links application to restore the canal. Successful 1st round bid – secures £250,000 funding for full cost and engineering study.
Newport City Council adopts Unitary Development Plan 1996-2011. Designates Crindau as a Regeneration Area with Marina and Canal Link to River Usk. Adopts polices to protect canal route from damaging development proposals.
Newport City Council dredges Alltyryn section of Crumlin Arm
Trust and Waterway Recovery Group members fit timber fendering to new slipway at Fourteen Locks
Trust and Waterway Recovery Group members construct access path including drainage alongside Fourteen Locks
Bettws Lane Bridge at Malpas – Rebuilding of bridge to allow for navigation
Atkins Consulting Engineers, produces a report for Newport City Council investigating:
The Economic Viability of re-opening the Mon & Brec Canal from Fourteen Locks Visitor Centre to the Newport City Boundary, which included engineering solutions to Ruskin Avenue and Pontymason Lane culverted road crossings; and the construction of a canal mooring basin in Bettws.
As part of the Interreg European exchange programme volunteers attended a 3 day workshop in Cwmbran installing a seat behind Pets at Home and carrying out maintenance work to Tamplin Lock. The volunteers were from Utrecht, Apeldoorn, Strabane & Lifford and Cwmbran
New “Herons Rest” marina constructed at Pen Pedair Heol Farm, Crickhowell
Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Regeneration Partnership submits Big Lottery – Living Links Application for £25m (75% of restoration cost). Proposal reached final shortlist of UK schemes but loses out to the Helix Canal Project in Scotland.
MBACT takes on management of Fourteen Locks Canal Centre from Newport City Council
180m of relining work at Dardy near Llangattock by CRT
Trust Volunteers and Members of the Waterway Recovery Group fit gates at Waen Lock 3 on the Crumlin Arm
Newport City Council
Supplementary Planning Guidance- Design Statement for Crindau. Sets out area redevelopment and Marina vision.
Heads of the Valley A465 dualling project builds new bridge over the canal. The new bridge also allowed longer boats to navigate the turn between bridges 101 and 102.Photo John Halford
Fourteen Locks Canal Centre extended to provide Cafe, meeting room and office facilities
Full inspection of the canal in the Newport City Council area
Pontymoile Spring Rally
Gilwern Celebration Rally
Restoration of 2 pairs of locks started at Fourteen Locks. Education Through Restoration Project. Partnership between Newport City Council and MBACT, funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and Newport City Council.
Inland Waterways Association National Trailboat Festival, Kimberley Park Newport. Organised and run by MBACT in partnership with Newport City Council.
As part of the National Trailboat Festival – first boats for 70 years cruise the 2.5 miles from Barrack Hill Tunnel entrance to Pentre Lane
Malpas – Bettws Lift-Bridge installed to replace low timber footbridge
Completion of restoration of the Cefn flight locks 17-20 and their pounds were completely restored with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies
Torfaen section of Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal declared a Conservation Area – Torfaen County Borough Council
Bridge 61 collapses and is re-built
Education Through Restoration Project wins RICS Wales Restoration Award. Judges were impressed with level of Community and Schools engagement
1812 – 2012 Bicentenary Celebrations – 200th anniversary of the joining of the Monmouthshire Canal with The Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal
Heritage Lottery funding secured to restore the Ty Coch Flight
2012 – 2013
470m of relining work near Llangattock by CRT
A plaque was unveiled at the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre to commemorate canal engineer Thomas Dadford Jnr. and his achievements
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority – Survey identifies the Mon & Brec Canal as the most visited attraction in the National Park
Beyond the Towpath – A Ten Year Strategy for Glandwr Cymru – Recommends a strategy for Wales Canals
Major repairs to the canal at Llanfoist after a serious breach included 1.5km of re-lining work.
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Sustainability Impact Assessment – Peter Brett Associates
Newport City Council adopts new Local Development Plan 2011-2026. Designation of Crindau as a Regeneration Area and associated Marina proposal is dropped.
Caerphilly CBC – publishes Crumlin Arm Action Plan
Beacon Park Boats open new base at Llangattock
Restored Ty Coch locks officially re-opened with the Trust’s boat Edith-Elizabeth passing through Lower Brake lock
MBACT, in partneship with Newport City Council, set up the Canal and Countryside volunteer team. The group have made a huge impact with conservation along this canal section.
Last lock restoration completed at end of Ty Coch Waterworks project with completion of lock 44. A total of 11 locks at Ty Coch were restored
650m of major relining works at Llangattock by CRT
Section of canal relined and retaining wall replaced at Pont-y-Waen
Relining of Cwmcarn Aqueduct, a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Caerphilly County Borough Council
Stage one Heritage Lottery Fund bid submitted by Torfaen CBC supported by MBACT to restore Five Locks and extend current navigation of the canal in Pontnewydd village by 1.5 miles. Application was unsuccessful, but resubmission invited.
Our first monthly walk from fourteen locks canal centre with Newport City Council. A new partnership created to get people outdoors, exercising and learning about what’s on their doorstep.
Ty Coch restoration project wins the Preservation and Rejuvenation Award at the annual Construction Excellence Wales Awards
Funding Secured for the Adventure Triangle Scheme – Visit Wales ERDF bid by Torfaen CBC and Caerphilly CBC, CRT supported by MBACT
Canal and River Trust Board Members visit and help us celebrate 10 years managing the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre
21st June 2018
The canal is blocked at Bridge 46 (Pontrhydyrun Bridge aka as Bevans Lane Bridge) by Taylor Wimpey as part of their Edlogan Wharf housing development. The Bridge 46 Facebook Group is later formed to campaign for Taylor Wimpey and the canal owners Torfaen County Borough Council to restore navigation rights to Five Locks.Original photo by Bridge 46 Facebook Group
Friends Of Chernobyl’s Children – Raglan, South Wales organise the 1st of several planned annual visits to the canal at Goytre
The Trust’s new trip boat “Lord Raglan” is commissioned
‘Expression of Interest’ funding application submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for regeneration at Ty Coch
Ty Coch Heritage Lottery Fund application put on-hold due to Covid-19
Canal towpath resurfaced, Crumlin Arm. Newport City Council
Caerphilly CBC commission major maintenance works to reline sections of the Crumlin Arm between Pontywaun Aqueduct to Green Meadow Bridge. Unfortunately the slipway at Pontywaun had to be blocked off as part of this work.