Hinterlands is a national arts project led by the Canal & River Trust (C&RT) inviting artists and communities to explore canals as a creative space in five locations across England and Wales.

Canals were a key technological development of eighteenth century Britain, built largely by coalmine owners, textile manufacturers and pottery barons to open up new markets for their products. The waterways formed national and global trade networks but were regional in character, built with local materials and engineered in response to local topography.

Hinterlands invites artists and communities to re-imagine the future of the waterways as the longest and most accessible cultural space in the UK.

“We are so lucky to have the canal on our doorstep. We already use it for walks and activities but this project has highlighted the huge potential of the space for wellbeing, learning and dreaming.”


– Pontypool resident, 2018


View of canal beneath bridge with grassy towpath bank


The project’s location for Wales is Pontypool and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in Torfaen. As the lead arts partner for Wales, Peak is working with C&RT to support artists, local groups and community partners to activate the canal as a site of wellbeing, creativity and collaboration.


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Ahoi! What Grows Here? draws upon the history of the canal as an infrastructure for transporting agricultural produce. Artists Ella Gibbs and Owen Griffiths will research existing food production along the canal, using Junction Cottage at Pontymoile Basin as a base.

Artist Rebecca Chesney proposes a new planting commission in partnership with Pontypool Museum, responding to the town’s unique heritage as the birthplace of Japanware (the process of applying a lacquered surface onto tinplate). Internationally renowned landscape designer Sarah Price will act as an advisor to the project.

Performance Butty builds on the work of several artists – Tina Pasotra & Edwin Burdis, Stefhan Caddick, Sam Hasler and Mr & Mrs Clark – who worked with community groups during Phase 1 to respond to the Torfaen section of the Mon & Brec canal through sound, performance and text. Comprised of a working ‘butty’ platform pulled by narrowboat (or horse), the vessel will be transformed into an outdoor space for performances, readings, music and talks – activating spaces along the towpath.



Pink flyer of Hinterlands Wales Autumn School details

For more information about Hinterlands Wales contact:

Melissa Appleton, Creative Producer melissa.appleton@canalrivertrust.org.uk
Follow the project @HinterlandsWAL


Hinterlands Wales is supported by:


Logo of Arts Council of WalesLogo of Canal & River Trust

Colwinston Trust

Henry Smith Charity