The Tennant Canal has been Abandoned?

Save the Tennant Canal was told that the canal seems to have been abandoned by its owners.

July 15, 2021

After the Tennant canal had experienced low flow conditions for several weeks we visited Aberdulais at Canalside to explore any possible reason for the canals’ sudden loss of water supply.

The Port Tennant Canal Company has left the Tennant canal in dreadful condition.
Tennant canal had experienced low flow conditions in Summer 2021.

We immediately noticed that the large water pumps installed on the site after a dry hot spell in 2018 to restore some supply to the canal had been removed from the site. The canal was previously supplied by a river weir which partially collapsed in 2015.

The Tennant Canal has been supplied by water by pumps from the river Neath at Aberdulias since 2018.
In 2018, large pumps were installed abstracting water from River Neath into the Canal to improve water flow after a spell of dry hot weather put the Canal at significant risk. BBC

We spoke to some workers who confirmed the Port Tennant Canal Company had ordered the removal of the pumps some weeks before. All if any maintenance had also been stopped due to a lack of funding. Although In October 2021, after some determined public pressure, the owners did decide to restart some basic canal maintenance, nowhere near enough to make any difference to the neglected waterway, its towpaths, or its listed buildings.

It was clear that the Tennant canal for many weeks had practically been abandoned. It was mid-summer and it had no water source, receiving no maintenance and just left to its own fate.

June 2021 - The Tennant Canal between Jersey Marine and back of Amazon.
June 2021 – The Tennant Canal at Jersey Marine (Amazon) left in a dreadful state despite the owners claiming that maintenance was in operation from Aberdulais to Port Tennant until 2021.
Scheduled Monument - Skewen Cuttings with no water pressure, the Canal structures supporting its banks are collapsing.
Scheduled Monument – Skewen Cuttings with no water pressure, the Canal structures supporting its banks are collapsing.
The Tennant Canal - Jersey Marine April 2021
Tennant Canal at Red Jacket April 2021.
Jersey Marine Village – August 04, 2021. Without a proper source of water supply, the canal will become a polluted swamp, resembling a ‘floodwater relief drain’ for the River Neath and not an eight-mile haven for wildlife.
Jersey Marine Village May - July 2021
Jersey Marine Village May – July 2021.
Tennant Canal at Cwrt Y Bettws to the old Gas Works Bridge.
Fish being cut off by the extensive weed growth and low water conditions being forced into smaller pools of deeper water. Now, thousands of Roach, Rudd, Perch, and Pike are being put at risk each year. Without a direct supply of fresh water, their survival is completely dependent on the weather. One more year passes and the old canal survives another hot, dry spell in 2021, ‘but for how much longer?’

Unfortunately, thousands of fish including Tench, Bream, and Carp have already fallen victim to the Tennant Canal’s pollution over the years, being mainly bottom-feeding fish. (Without a healthy flow and extensive dredging, lack of proper weed control or bank maintenance for many years, the canal will contain toxic by-products in its muddy bottom which gets ingested by the fish and other aquatic life)

The canal’s flow is being monitored regularly by the public. The current situation looks set to worsen for the Tennant Canal’s future in 2022. Without a proper source of water supply, the canal will become a polluted swamp, resembling a ‘floodwater relief drain’ for the River Neath and not an eight-mile haven for wildlife. The Neath canal below is also in a dreadful state.

Neath Canal May 2021 W of Zoar's Ark Pet Superstore, Neath.
The Neath Canal is also in a dreadful state. May 2021 W of Zoar’s Ark Pet Superstore, Neath.

Please visit our take action page which includes all the email addresses of MP’s, Local Councillors, organisations, etc.

How our historic waterways should be treated in Neath and Port Talbot, Swansea waterways unveiled plans to open up the canals, and many more welsh canals have been completely restored.