Mid Wales

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal 200th anniversary finale

A Sunday school trip to Llangattock in 1908
Image caption Jolly boating weather: A Sunday school trip to Llangattock in 1908

Celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal have drawn to a close with a grand finale.

Communities along the 49-mile (79km) waterway lit handmade lanterns and fire sculptures on Saturday.

Festivities got under way in February when bells rang out at 30 churches along the route, recreating the canal's opening in 1812.

Other events such as photo exhibitions and guided walks have been held.

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNP) said the canal was currently navigable for 35 miles from Brecon to Five Locks, near Cwmbran, almost all of which is within the park.

It was built between 1792 and 1812 to link Brecon with Newport and the Severn Estuary.

Image caption Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal was built between 1792 and 1812 to link Brecon with Newport and the Severn Estuary

Stone and processed lime from nearby quarries was transported by horse-drawn tramways to the canal and then by barge to Newport.

By the early 20th Century trade on the canal had virtually ended, but the waterway was restored and reopened to the public in 1970.

Today it is used for canoeing, fishing and walks along the towpath.

Fire sculptures

Celebrations have been held throughout the year, and the Lighting up the Canal festivities culminated at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon and the town's canal basin.

Image caption Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal was reopened to the public in 1970

In the morning, church bells - starting in Pontymoile basin in Torfaen - were rung along the canal route to Brecon, signalling a lantern procession to the canal's basin.

People then floated handmade lanterns onto the water. There were also fire sculptures, street performers and live music.

Over the past few weeks communities along the canal in Crickhowell, Llangattock, Llangynidr, Talybont-on-Usk, Pencelli, Llanfrynach and Brecon have been attending free lantern making workshops.

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