In the eighteenth century, the town of Montluçon was a centre of industry, producing coal, iron, pit props, barrels and wine.
The difficulty was to get these things to market, so it was decided to build to a lateral canal beside the Cher river, joining the area to the Loire at Tours, with another branch going to the lateral canal of the Loire near Nevers.
Work began in 1810 and the canal was opened in stages from 1831. Because of the relative scarcity of water in this part of France, it was made narrower than usual, which turned out to be a mistake, as it prevented other canal boats from using it, and led to its early decline and final closure in 1955.
Since then some sections have been blocked off, others drained, and it is no longer navigable, although there is now a society dedicated to reopening parts of it to pleasure boats.
Our three walks on the Canal de Berry
The red lines show these three walks superimposed on the blue of the canal.
You can also get a full screen view of this map in Google Earth and take a virtual flight along our route.
Walk 1: Sancoins to Saint-Amand-Montrond
Walk 3: Mehun-sur-Yèvre to Saint-Aignan
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