Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts
A World Heritage Site
Chirk Aqueduct and Viaduct © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales
The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal must be one of the most spectacular and scenic canals in Britain. The canal is fed from the River Dee at the Horseshoe Falls just out of Llangollen. You can walk through Darkie Tunnel but beware it is some 1200 feet in length, so a flashlight is recommended, it is one of two tunnels at Chirk, the other is the shorter Whitehurst Tunnel.
Right:- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
A quote in "the Life of Thomas Telford" publication says "...Aqueduct is situated in a finely wooded valley, having Chirk Castle as an eminence immediately above it, with the Welsh Mountains and Glen Ceiriog as a background and the village of Chirk with Lord Dungannon's Ceiriog Bridge occupying the intermediate space. These combined objects compose a landscape seldom surpassed."
The 70 feet high aqueduct built between 1796 and 1801 by Thomas Telford and William Jessop was built, like the Pontcysyllte, to carry the Ellesmere Canal.
The ten circular masonry arches of the structure, each spanning 40 feet, have piers carried between them as pilaster strips. There is no cast iron trough carrying the water of the canal, as at Pontcysyllte. Instead, the bed is of iron plates, bolted together, with the side walls built of stone quarried locally at Pont Faen.
The relationship of the sets of arches running parallel with one another conjures up images of "Roman grandeur" as the architect, Edward Hubbard says in "Buildings of Wales, Clwyd" and one perhaps thinks particularly of the aqueduct at Tarragona, Spain. The view as one walks towards them is certainly romantic, particularly in strong sunlight and has caught the imagination of artists and writers in the past. There are drawings of the aqueduct by G.Pickering and Henry Gastineau of the early 19th century.
The vast amount of material excavated in the late 18th century to form the cutting for the canal was taken to make up the massive embankments for the aqueduct constructed by Telford over the River Dee at Pontcysyllte.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales
The Canal is cut into the hillside as it heads towards Llangollen, where the Canal ends. You can hire a barge for the day for up to 12 people at 2 local Marinas and travel on this most beautiful stretch of canal.
Day Boat Hire:-
Trevor Wharf Services Ltd, Canal Wharf, Trevor, Nr Llangollen, Denbighshire. LL20 7TY. Wales UK
Telephone:- +44 1978 821749
Chirk Marina, Chirk, Nr. Wrexham, Wales, UK
Telephone:- +44 1691 774558
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