Llangollen Canal - Ponty Aquaduct and All!
Llangollen canal route
The Llangollen Canal is one of the best known canals – mainly through the 1000 foot long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (pont - cu - suck - lee) at Trevor. At 120 feet it is the highest aqueduct in the UK and one of the seven wonders of the UK canals if not number one of the seven. The aqueduct was one of Thomas Telford’s finest achievements. The canal is actually The Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and starts at Hurleston Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal in England and follows the contours of the land as closely as possible to Llangollen in North Wales.
Llangollen is also the home to: The Horse Drawn Boat Centre (The Horse Drawn Boat Centre Llangollen Started in 1884 horse drawn passenger
boat trips began along the Llangollen Canal) - Llangollen
Museum; Llangollen Motor Museum; Llangollen Railway and The Lllangollen Museum.
The Llangollen Canal is a feeder canal with
the main source of water from the River Dee at Llangollen's Horseshoe Falls.
You can hire a narrowboat through Hoseasons, based at Whittington boatyard, Shropshire - about 25 miles from the start (or end) of the Hurleston Junction. They'll point the sharp end towards Llangollen (or which ever way you want to go) and away you go. The first lock is miles away so the helpful staff can't actually show you how to negotiate that hurdle! You will, however, be given an instruction manual and the necessary tools.
Cruising through picturesque countryside, farmland and small hamlets you eventually come to Chirk, with its 70 foot high aqueduct and 450 metre long tunnel. Chirk has a well visited castle about a mile from the canal.
Leaving Chirk and passing Chirk Marina and another tunnel, you are now heading for the Vale of Llangollen and the ‘Ponty’ as the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at Trevor is affectionately known.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Construction - Llangollen Canal -The aqueduct is built on the local bedrock, each of the 18 piers is constructed of local stone, rising to a maximum height of 116ft (about 35m) above the River Dee.
Crossing the Ponty is real adventure for first timers. The 120 feet down to the River Dee seems an awful lot more when you are crossing, especially for people with vertigo! Once you are over the Ponty there is the Trevor Basin and a bridge off to the left.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct General - Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Trevor, Llangollen Canal Section of the Shropshire Union.
Past this point the canal narrows with regular passing places. The canal is towered over by limestone cliffs. The limestone, one of the reasons why the canal was constructed in the first place, was to carry the limestone to the industrial heartland of England. Arriving at Llangollen basin you may be met by one of the horse drawn canal boats that ply their trade on the ‘closed’ section of canal through the town. Llangollen is home to a canal exhibition, Horseshoe Falls and free entry Llangollen Museum.
Returning back downstream passed the Welsh Lady Cruisers boatyard at Whittington heading due east to Frankton Locks at the junction of the Montgomery Canal. There are restrictions on boat numbers on the Montgomery now so you now have to book your passage down here with BW at least 24 hours before passage.
Staying on the Llangollen Canal heading north east to Ellesmere. There is a small branch that goes in towards the town centre and a marina just past the branch on the main canal. Passing closely to Blake Mere on the port side and a little further Cole Mere and the Cole Mere Country Park to the starboard.
Cruising on though farm land and woodland, passing the Preece Branch Junction at Dobson’s Bridge you are now heading for the basin in Whitchurch. Going further north the Llangollen canal ends (or begins again) at Hurlseton Junction.