The Llangollen Canal is one of the most picturesque canals in Great Britain with it's stunning scenery varying from green pastures to tree lined lakes. It meanders it way through the medieval towns Whitchurch, with its half timbered buildings and the lovely market town of Ellesmere set in its very own Lake District. Situated at the end of the canal is the pretty town of Llangollen famous the world over for the annual International Musical Eisteddfod
Building began on the Llangollen Canal in 1795 and it was opened in 1805.
The canal was originally know as the Ellesmere Canal.
The Llangollen Canal would have been busy in it's heyday with the working narrowboats transporting goods such as salt, coal and slate.
The canal is 41 miles in length and links to the Shropshire Union Canal at the Hurleston Junction.
There are a total of 21 locks on the canal including the flight at Grindley Brook.
There are three tunnels on the Llangollen Canal, the Ellesmere Tunnel at 87 yards long, the Whitehurst Tunnel at 191 yards long and the Chirk Tunnel is 459 yards.
Construction on the Chirk Tunnel began in 1794 and it was one of the first canal tunnels in Britain to incorporate a towpath. This made life easier for the working boatmen as it meant that they could walk the horse straight through the tunnel which saved time and man power as there was no need for 'Legging'.
The two aqueducts are undoubtedly the most impressive features on the Llangollen Canal and both are major feats of engineering. The Chirk aqueduct is impressive enough as it spans the bubbling River Ceiriog at 70 feet. It is however the magnificent Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which is the most awe inspiring feature on any canal anywhere in the United Kingdom.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was built in 1805 and there is little explanation needed as to why it is named 'the stream in the sky'. Spanning over the beautiful Dee Valley for 1000 feet it stands at 126 feet high making in the tallest narrowboat crossing in the world.
In 2009 it was recognised as a World Heritage Site and this puts it on an par with the Great Barrier Reef and Statue of Liberty.
Worthy of a mention are the two engineers ,William Jessop and Thomas Telford, who were responsible for these feats of engineering.
Thomas Telford was from a Scottish working class background and began his carer as an apprentice stonemason. He became engineer beneath William Jessop when he worked on the Ellesmere canal, later to become the Llangollen Canal. After the completion of the Llangollen Canal Thomas Telford moved back to Scotland where he engineered the building of Caledonian Canal. His other achievements include the Menai Suspension Bridge and Katherine's Docks in London.
William Jessop was the son Josias Jessop who was a naval shipwright and who later worked with John Smeaton who was famous for his work with lighthouses. When Josias died Smeaton took the young William under his wing and trained him as an engineer. Jessop was chief engineer on the Rochdale Canal, The Grand Junction (Grand Union Canal) as well as the Llangollen Canal.
From the Llangollen Canal you are able to spur off onto The Montgomery Canal at Frankton Junction. The locks at Frankton are manned by friendly lock keepers who will help to navigate through.
The Montgomery Canal has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and most known for its rare aquatic plants. Although currently you can only navigate a 7 mile stretch there are plans to open up the whole 35 miles as far as Newtown in the Welsh Borders.
The Llangollen really is a wonderful location for your canal boat holidays. Check out our availability now >