Canal & River Trust
To amble along the lovely Montgomery Canal is to immerse yourself in nature. Along the scenic stretch through the Severn Valley and Welsh Marches, there are no less than seven nature reserves. And those of you who tread its towpath regularly will no doubt be familiar with the white flowers of floating water plantain that cover the water. Nature aside, the canal is also famed for the dozens of old lime kilns that line its banks, giving a glimpse of the waterways former use.
An 11-mile walk from Lower Frankton to Llanymynech delivers the best of the waterway’s industrial heritage. It passes through the Limeworks Heritage Area where you can explore Hoffman Kiln, a cavernous lime kiln that towers over the canal. As you pass through Maesbury Marsh, be sure to stop by Canal Central, where you can embark on a horse-drawn barge trip, hire a canoe or ride the miniature gauge railway through the site’s paddock.
If 11 miles feels a bit daunting, you can always take a four-mile route by starting at Maesbury Marsh, which is served by the 576 bus between Oswestry and Shrewsbury. Llanymynech, the end of the walk, is served by a number of bus services to Oswestry.
At Canal Central, you can’t fail to notice a rather striking wooden building among the greenery, home to a family-run tea room with a verandah overlooking the Welsh hills. You can enjoy loose leaf teas with organic milk, locally-sourced bacon and sausages, fresh granary bread and stilton and walnut scones. A local lady knits the cosies that keep your teapot warm.
Canal Central, Maesbury Marsh, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 8JG; canalcentral.uk