A CANAL BOAT owner on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal has encouraged people to take pride in Wales’ waterways after a section of the canal was unnavigable by boat for about a year.

Brian Boon, 73, lives in Weston-Super-Mare but spends a large amount of time on the water here in Gwent.

Mr Boon was surprised last year after a section of the canal, at Bevan’s Lane in Cwmbran, was filled with rubble after Bevan’s Bridge was replaced and a housing development on the banks was being built, which made the canal too shallow to pass via boat.


When he returned a few weeks ago, the canal was still not usable.

“As you can imagine I was disappointed that the canal is now unusable and complained to Torfaen Borough Council,” he said. “They quickly got back to me and promised to get (developer) Taylor Wimpey to restore the canal to its former glory.

“The canal down that end has been left to go into a sorry, sad state, which is a shame as it’s a lovely area.”

A Torfaen council spokesman said the blockage in the canal had now been removed, and Taylor Wimpey will dredge the waterway to ensure its navigable.

"The Canal and Rivers Trust have confirmed that the most recent dredging has provided a depth that is suitable for navigation," he said. "However, we are aware of the weed growth in this section and appreciate that some boat owners would navigate this section, others may not and that is a decision for the individual to make.

"Further discussions are required before we are in a position to confirm the Council will weed cut this section.

"The council has secured grants of up to £2 million to make improvements to the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal which includes improvements at Five Locks, the installation of finger pontoons at South Sebastopol, tow path improvement works and dredging to sections in the council’s ownership, works at Pontymoile aqueduct and works to improve facilities at Pontymoile."

Mr Boon is looking to organise a flotilla along the canal to celebrate Wales’ history and the role the waterways played in this.

“I just want to get people in the area involved in their local history,” said Mr Boon. “Half of Wales is built on these canals and it’s just been left to go to ruin.

“I thought to mark this occasion I would arrange a flotilla of boats to cruise this little used part of the canal.

“It is set to start from Pontymoile Basin on Saturday, September 5. We’ll be meeting at 10am and setting off at about 11am. We’ll get to Bevan’s Lane around 11.45am-12pm.

“Everybody is aware of social distancing and we are making sure everyone is aware of the Covid-19 restrictions.”