Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2021

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

A boat trip across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the highlight of any visit to the Llangollen area.

Several “companies”:https://www.pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk/business-community/boat-trips-boat-hire/ run narrow boat trips across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct either from Llangollen Wharf or from Froncysyllte. I began a trip on the Thomas Telford at Froncysyllte. The canal is wide here, so the boat can turn round. There is plenty of seating inside, but I chose to stand at the back which gave wonderful views of the scenery as well as the aqueduct and the canal.

On a sunny August afternoon, the tow path was busy. The Aqueduct is only wide enough for one vessel to pass along it. The skipper has to make sure there is nothing approaching before entering the aqueduct. Clearances on either side are less than an inch. With views down to the River Dee 126′ below, it is not recommended for anyone scared of heights!

At the far side of the aqueduct, the canal widens to form the Trevor basin. This was built on an artificial terrace and acts as a reservoir and holding are for boats waiting to cross. It was also an important transhipment point for cargo – coal, iron products, building stone , bricks etc which were brought here by horse drawn wagons on a tramway. The buildings were originally warehouses, workshops and repair shops and worker accommodation. The “Trevor Basin Visitor Centre”:https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/pontcysyllte-aqueduct-world-heritage-site/trevor-basin-visitor-centre has information about the aqueduct and canal as well as a shop.

The Llangollen Canal takes a sharp right angle bend under a low stone bridge. The canal meanders high above the wooded valley and is crossed by small bridges. The tow path is quite wide here and is a popular walk. Most of the way it is wide enough for two boats to pass. Passing is always to the left. Speed is limited to 4miles per hour so as to not damage the banks.

After bridge 41 there is a section of very narrow canal. There is a holding dock at one end and also a passing place in the middle.

Approaching Llangollen, the valley widens and there are views through the trees. A swing bridge crosses the canal and this can cause long hold ups if it is shut and needs to be open. The ruins of Castell Dinas Bran can be seen high on the skyline.

Back in the trees, the canal approaches Llangollen Wharf. This is set above the town and was another important transhipment point. The crane can still be seen outside the tea room. It is now the base for horse drawn boat trips with stabling for the two horses, Tobias and Sonic.

The trip takes about two hours – a lot depends on how much traffic there is along the canal, particularly across the aqueduct and the narrow stretch. On a dry sunny day, it is a lovely leisurely trip with the highlight being the aqueduct. It is hardly surprising it is a World Heritage Site.

There are a lot more photographs “here”:https://www.sloweurope.com/community/threads/pontcysyllte-aqueduct-a-world-heritage-site.6059/ here.



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