Northeast Wales is home to the towering Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a watercourse which carries the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee. Pontcysyllte literally means ‘the bridge that connects’, and it is the defining feature of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches across 11 miles of stunning nature and heritage from Chirk through to Llantysilio.
The aqueduct is an architectural marvel – two hundred men worked on its construction for just over a decade from 1795 to 1805. Stretching 307 meters in length and standing at 38 meters high, the 18-arched stone and cast-iron structure is the longest aqueduct in Britain and the highest canal aqueduct in the world. Designed and constructed by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, it is clear to see why the aqueduct is considered to be one of the most magnificent triumphs of the British industrial revolution.
Today, the canal is crossed by over 15,000 boats a year, gaining the nickname ‘the stream in the sky’. Canoeists are able to paddle along the canal and across the aqueduct to uncover the charming Welsh landscape, and for those who aren’t quite as daring, Public Canal Boat Trips offer an opportunity to witness the remarkable scenery. The wildlife found along the World Heritage site is bountiful – swans, ducks, coots and moorhens are found all along the canal, and keep a weather eye out for herons and kingfishers too!
To fully discover the beauty of the aqueduct and the surrounding area, make sure to take a stroll along the Tŷ Mawr Circular Walk to see the Cefn Viaduct and the nearby country park. As you make your way back to the stunning aqueduct, be sure to stop off at The Telford Inn, the perfect resting spot for a cold drink and some tasty treats.