Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & World Heritage Site
The Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site lies on the boarders of North-East Wales. The site is 18 kilometres long and follows the Llangollen Canal along the River Dee Valley past Cefn Mawr and over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from where the site gets its name. Cefn Mawr and the surrounding villages of Cefn lie at the centre of the World Heritage Site and the Llangollen Canal and Aqueduct are fine examples of civil engineering from the first, or canal era of the Industrial Revolution, completed in the early 1800’s.
Covering difficult geographical terrain, the building of the canal required bold and substantial civil engineering solutions to provide a workable canal that could cross the River Dee Valley. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a fine example of such and was conceived by the celebrated engineer, Thomas Telford, and founder member of ICE, the Institution of Civil Engineers. The use of both cast and wrought iron in the construction of the canal trough and pier arches reduced the loading giving a light and strong structure with an overall effect that is both monumental and elegant, and recognized as an innovative design that has inspired many projects worldwide. It is a fine example of British Workmanship from a time when Great Britain led the world in Iron Work, Engineering, Construction, and Britannia Ruled the Waves!
The World Heritage Site set up with UNESCO approval in 2009 extends from the Horse Shoe falls at Llantisilio. This is the furthest upstream point for the WHS on the River Dee and the curving weir was built by Thomas Telford to raise the level of the River Dee at that point, so providing head water for what was then called The Elsmere Canal. This now forms the summit of the canal and provides a water supply to Hurleston Reservoir via the canal, although originally when the canal was planned to go to Chester in 1793 the summit and head water supply would have been from a reservoir at Flint Mountain via the Frued canal. See the history page for more information on this.
The World Heritage Site spans from one mountain ridge to another across the Vale of Llangollen and follows the feeder channel of the Llangollen canal from the Horse Shoe Falls. It continues down the river Dee Valeley before crossing the Ceiriog Valley and eventually reaching the Poachers Pocket on the canal at Gledrid, just on the English side of the boarder.
Here the River Dee can be seen passing under Llangollen Bridge in the 1700’s before the Industrial Revolution. The canal would eventually be cut on the far bank of the River Dee and the Horse Shoe Falls are upstream of where this etching is scratched from.
Llangollen and Dinas Bran Castle at the northern end World Heritage Site and the Llangollen Canal leading to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Cefn Mawr at the midpoint of the World Heritage Site.
The World Heritage Site follows the Llangollen Canal on its way to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at Cefn Mawr, central to the World Heritage Site.
The goal of the Plas Kynaston Canal Group is to reunite the village & aqueduct with the reinstatement of the Plas Kynaston Canal leading from the Trevor Basin into Cefn Mawr.
The 1875 Ordnance Survey Edition clearly shows the Plas Kynaston Canal linking Cefn Mawr into the Trevor Basin.
Cefn Mawr and the surrounding villages of the Cefn lie at the centre of the World Heritage Site extending from the Horse Shoe Falls up stream of Llangollen on the River Dee to the Poachers Pocket at Gledrid on the English side of the boarder.
It was at Cefn Mawr that the Plaskynaston Iron Foundry once stood where the original iron work that is still in use today was made over 200 years ago. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct stands as fine example of our engineering history and the craftsmanship of our fore fathers in the early 1800s then leading the world in Iron Production and Technology.
The Plaskynaston Foundry was served by the Plaskynaston Canal and Colliery, from where this website draws its name and the start of the Plaskynaston Branch can still be seen today with the remaining canal bed in place below the remains of what was, the Mighty Monsanto Chemical Works and latterly known in its demise as Flexies, Solutia and now Eastmans.
Today the former branch of the Plas Kynaston Canal could be reinstated back to Cefn Mawr terminating in a much needed marina on what is currently the busiest section of the UK’s inland waterway network. This would once again join Cefn Mawr directly to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Llangollen Canal by canal, i.e. the Plas Kynaston Canal Branch, just over half a mile long at the central section of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site.
The start of what was the Plas Kynston Canal Branch leading into Cefn Marw from the Trevor Basin. This branch only half a mile long and not crossing any residential areas could be reinstated providing much needed berthing spaces north of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Thereby allowing more people to visit the area and so encouraging the tourist industry in an appropriate way by building what is needed, i.e. the infrastructure for such, a canal and marina.
And at the centre of Cefn Mawr at the centre of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site, the Plas Kynaston Canal Group has set up its headquarters at the Holly Bush Inn, Well Street, LL14 3AE and also provides a privately funded Tourist Information Service at Lure-it UK Fishing Tackle,Crane Street, LL14 3AB both in Cefn Mawr.
At the central section of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site, Cefn Mawr and Surrounding Villages there are also other significant and notable crossings of the River Dee, such as and in accordance with the direction of flow of the River Dee, the Cysyllte Bridge, more correctly Pont Cysyllte, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the Cefn Viaduct and New Bridge.
Another fine example of civil engineering from the 1800’s in the World Heritage Site is the Cefn Viaduct at Cefn Mawr carrying the Chester to Shrewsbury Line across the River Dee Valley with the Orient Express crossing in 2012. Cefn Mawr has the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to the west and the Cefn Viaduct to the east, only half a mile apart.
Cefn Viaduct to the East of Cefn Mawr spanning the River Dee Valey and the Ty Mawr Country Park, Cefn Maw in the World Heritage Site.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct spanning the River Dee Valley between Cefn Mawr and Froncysyllte, viewed from the Pont Cysyllte Bridge upstream of the Aqueduct.
At the opposite end of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to Cefn Mawr lies Froncysyllte, another village borne from the coming of the canal and the Industrial Revolution.
Chirk Castle towards the south east end of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site. This exceedingly well kept castle makes a great day out with lots to see.
The Chirk Aqueduct and Viaduct crossing the Ceiriog Valley side by side, one carrying the Chester to Shrewsbury Railway Line, a former part of the GRW network and the other the Llangollen Canal on route for Ellesmere and Hurleston Reservoir.
The Poachers Pocket, Chirk Bank and the Southern End of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site located on the A483 and Llangollen Canal. The current section of the A483 was once a part of the A5 and originally the Holly Head Road constructed by Thomas Telford along with the Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, although at different dates of course.
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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Pontcysyllte WHS.[...]
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