Luronium Futures: preserving rare plants on the Montgomery Canal

Luronium Futures: preserving rare plants on the Montgomery Canal

Workers chop down trees overhanging a stretch of overgrown canal
Restoring the Welsh section of the Montgomery canal included removing overhanging trees. Photo: Canal and River Trust.

Nature Networks Fund

Llanwenarth Ultra
Canal and River Trust
The Canal and River Trust’s project improved the condition of the Welsh stretch of the Montgomery Canal which is home to rare British wildlife species.

The Montgomery Canal was once a bustling industrial waterway connecting Shropshire and eastern parts of Wales, before suffering years of neglect. Its Welsh section is now a Special Area of Conservation as it is home to a variety of rare species like the floating water plantain, Luronium natans.

The Luronium Futures project aimed to better manage the canal environment to ensure that the precious native species were not overwhelmed by other vegetation.

Rare Luronium plants in a canal, with small green leaves and white flowers floating on the water's surface
Luronium plants in the Montgomery Canal, a rare native species. Photo: Canal and River Trust.


Several groups of volunteers manage trees, remove invasive species and control the growth of vegetation, and their ongoing work was crucial to the project’s success.

The project’s activities included:

  • baseline condition surveys of the canal to inform restoration work and to help measure the impact of improvements
  • clearing vegetation from the canal, trimming overhanging trees and some dredging to maintain an open channel of water
  • enhancing three sections of the canal which are part of nature reserves
  • moving luronium plants to repopulate sections of the canal that had been cleared
  • continuing previous work on the Guilsfield Arm of the canal, restoring water and increasing biodiversity in areas that had become filled with sediment and overgrown
  • designing and constructing ‘leaky dams’ from natural material which stops soil being washed into the canal and providing nutrients to invasive vegetation
A digger clearing a section of the canal in an area with hills, trees and fields
Clearing a section of the canal. Photo: Canal and River Trust.

Mark Evans, regional director for Wales & South West at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Luronium Futures project has played a significant role in our work revitalising and conserving the natural environment of the historic Montgomery Canal. It has enabled us to implement measures to preserve and enhance the natural heritage of the area, safeguarding wildlife habitats, adopting sustainable practices, and promoting biodiversity.

“The project presented a transformative opportunity for the Montgomery Canal, breathing new life into this historically significant waterway.”

The Luronium Futures project was awarded funding through the Nature Networks Fund, distributed by the Heritage Fund on behalf of the Welsh Government in partnership with Natural Resources Wales.

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