Behind the scenes tour for lottery players

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | News | Published:

A special, behind the scenes tour of new £1.2 million nature reserves is being organised as a thankyou to National Lottery players.

Aston nature reserve

The Canal & River Trust, the charity that looks after the Montgomery Canal in Oswestry, is inviting visitors with a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard to join them for the tour during the construction of tje reserves at Aston Locks on the canal.

Montgomery Canal, one of Britain’s most picturesque canals, is benefitting from a £2.5m grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore part of the canal, as part of a £4m, four-year project.

The canal on the Shropshire/Welsh border is currently only partly navigable and is a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Rare aquatic plants, including Floating Water Plantain, will soon be given a secure environment by the creation of the three-hectare wildlife habitat within Aston Locks Nature Reserve. The site, which is expected to be complete by winter 2018, will also be home to a range of wildlife including damselflies, dragonflies, otters, water voles and a range of bird species.

The Trust is inviting people to join the charity’s project manager David Hennessey and ecologist Sara Hill for a free tour around the site on December 13 betweem 10am – 1pm to learn why the reserves are being created and how they have been designed. Places are limited, so book your place in advance.

Alongside the creation of the reserve, a further one and a quarter miles of the canal, from Welshampton to Crickheath in Shropshire, will be restored to enable navigation by boat. The project also includes access improvements to the canal, with nearly five miles of towpath due to be upgraded. A comprehensive programme of events and activities to help the local community get to know their local waterway is already underway.

The walk which is free will begin outside the Queens Head pub, Queen’s Head, Oswestry .

ookings can be made online - or by contacting

David Hennessey, project manager at Canal & River Trust said: “The Montgomery Canal is among the UK’s most picturesque canals, and is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, wildlife and heritage. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players we have been able to realise our ambitions to help restore this beautiful canal. The behind-the-scenes tour at Aston Nature Reserves will be a great way for people to learn about this amazing resource on their doorstep, how it is being created and the benefits to wildlife. Don’t forget to bring walking boots or sturdy footwear as the site is likely to be a bit muddy in places.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “December is a wonderful time to experience the UK’s rich, diverse and exciting heritage, which has been transformed by more than £7bn National Lottery funding since 1994. This is a small gesture of thanks and a way of giving something back to the people who buy tickets.”

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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