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Neath Canal at Resolven - Date of restoration (Update on decline)

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I'm off to have a look at the Neath Canal between Resolven and Ysgwrfa soon, the restoration of "about thirty years ago" needs redoing apparently. I'm dredging the old memory banks (something the canal probably needs as well!) but can't recall exactly when it was restored, part of the brain says early 1990s but another part seems to recall visiting in a hire car and seeing a boat moving. The hire car is significant as I bought my first car in August 1990 and generally didn't hire cars for local travel (I lived in Cardiff) after that. 


It may be a hired a car after 1990, it may be I made the trip in my own car, or it maybe this first siting of the restored canal was prior to August 1990. 


Can anyone help with when the canal was restored? Thanks all!

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Wikipedia is your friend.


From 1974 to 1990 the canal benefited from job creation schemes run by the Manpower Services Commission[30] and Youth Training Scheme to work on the northern section from Resolven to Ysgwrfa.[31] By 1990 there was 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of navigable canal, including 7 restored locks and a slipway at Resolven basin.[32] It received a 1998 Europa Nostra award for the quality of the work, and a Civic Trust Award in 1992. The £4 million project was jointly funded by the Welsh Office and the Prince of Wales Trust.[32] The Rheola aqueduct in the middle of this section was refurbished by the Canals Society in 1990.[33] The stream that is now carried under the canal had previously been carried over it in a cast iron trough, but was diverted through a channel cut across the canal bed after high flows overtopped the trough. This required the construction of a new aqueduct,[34] and once completed, the Canals Society launched their trip boat, named Thomas Dadford, on 12 July 1990, to provide canal trips for the public.[35] The Enfys also provided boat trips for the Enfys Trust from the Tŷ Banc former lock-keepers cottage at Resolven, until 2008.[31]

South-western sectionedit

In 1993 the stretch of canal from Abergarwed locks to Tyn-yr-Heol lock at Tonna was polluted when iron-bearing water began discharging from a mine adit of the Ynysarwed coal mine. This turned the water orange, and deposited ferruginous sediment along the canal. A treatment plant and reedbeds were installed to clean the mine water, and this £1.6 million project was commissioned in 1999.


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Thank you @matty40s - I shoulda thought of that! so my memory was not failing me, I could have visited in a hire car in 89/90 and seen the restored canal


(The memory of the project manager for the original works might be failing him though - he said it was early 90's!)


To add, I think Enfys, much restored, is now operating on the Mon and Brec from Goytre.

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I organised an IWA branch outing to South Wales in April 1991 which included a very wet boat trip at Resolven, a few pictures:




2 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:






2 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:








Edited by Tim Lewis
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  • magpie patrick changed the title to Neath Canal at Resolven - Date of restoration (Update on decline)

I had a good walk from Resolven to Ysgwrfa yesterday, a couple of photos below - took loads and will keep adding uploads as and when time permits. The canal is now derelict, and probably looks like many canals did in the 40's and 50's. The first lock at Resolven is probably useable as the gates were replaced in 2007, the others are not as they have the 1990 gates on. In some cases these older gates have been heavily patched indictating attempts to keep the canal going. On this evidence gates fall apart after 34 years! There is also silting which has led to reed growth and between them the channel is impassible in places. 


There are only three miles of canal, and there were never many boats on it - two separate trip boats which may or may not have traded at the same time. Nevertheless in the late 90s the canal at Resolven was buzzing on a summer Sunday, with trip boats, canoes*, towpath walkers and gongoozlers indulging in coffee or ice cream. 


*There is still canoe hire from Resolven in season, although only the pound the canoes are on is passable 


There are seven locks on the length - one at the start described above, then a pair after about a mile, a single lock after  about another mile and then three up to the end at Ysgqwrfa. Having seen boats go through all seven about 30 years ago it's a bit sad. 




Some of these would allow an interesting (to some) analysis of lock gate failure - most of the joints have rotted (which squares with CRT Bradley saying that it tends to be the joints that go - this seems to be true even on gates that aren't used) but in some instances the cross beams have snapped, they must be very rotten to do that with virtually no load other than the weight of the gate.


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One part of the restoration that sneaked in was the replacement of the washed away Ynysbwllog aqueduct which was built and opened in 2008 without anybody been told. On any other restoration this would have been publicised to the hilt!     (It was probably because no-one could spell it) 


Edited by Tim Lewis
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