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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

They call it 'the stream in the sky.'

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct2909TOURISM86

Dare you cross it? And can you do it without looking down?

You can walk across Pontcysyllte, or save your legs and take a leisurely boat ride.

But there's one thing you have to take with you. A camera. The views are something else.

Pop into our visitor centre too, to take in some information about the history of the aqueduct.

Just by way of a taster:

  • Pontcysyllte means 'the bridge that connects'.
  • There are 18 piers 126ft high, and 19 arches each with a 45ft span.
  • To keep the aqueduct as light as possible, the slender masonry piers are partly hollow and taper at their summit.
  • The mortar was made of oxen blood, lime and water. Kind of like treacle toffee.
  • The aqueduct holds 1.5 million litres of water and takes two hours to drain.
  • The structure is 1,007ft long, with the River Dee running beneath it.
  • The work was undertaken by Thomas Telford and supervised by the more experienced canal engineer William Jessop.
  • The first stone was laid in July 1795. It was completed in 1805 using local stone.
  • This is the largest aqueduct in Britain. It's fed by water from the Horseshoe Falls near Llangollen.
  • The water runs through an iron trough that measures 11ft 10ins wide and 5ft 3ins deep.

Froncysyllte and Trevor

Sitting either end of the aqueduct are two villages which witness the comings and goings of excited visitors and relaxed canal trippers. Froncysyllte and Trevor.

While most famous for its aqueduct, Froncycyllte can also take credit for another famous institution. The Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir. Or, as we like to refer to them, the 'oldest boy-band in the world.'

And the boys have become rather famous since their Voices of the Valley album stormed the charts.They have concerts dotted about the UK too, so catch them if you can!

Trevor Basin is the first port of call for many people when visiting the aqueduct. There's plenty of parking, the aptly named Thomas Telford Inn, and a friendly local shop. And obviously, the main attraction itself is right in front of you.

Trevor basinIf you fancy crossing the aqueduct by boat, head over to Jones the Boats and get yourself booked onto 'Eirlys' (that's 'Snowdrop' to the non-Welsh speaker). 

This brightly decorated traditional canal boat looks lovely. And you're in safe hands with Peter at the helm. He's beeen taking visitors accross the aqueduct for over 20 years.

The perfect way to experience Mr Telford's masterpiece.

Cefn Mawr

Just a hop and a skip from Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is Cefn Mawr.

There's plenty of reasons to visit, including Ty Mawr Country Park. At this fabulous visitor attraction, you'll meet friends in all shapes and sizes. Sheep, donkeys, pigs, rabbits, chickens and lots of other resident animals. Not to mention a great little adventure playground, cafe and plenty of parking.

Ty Mawr Small

There's also a lovely walk alongside the River Dee with dramatic views of the Cefn viaduct. And it's a great place for a picnic.

Of course, the story doesn't end here. There's plenty of other good stuff on offer in the village. A wander around the main high street will reveal a diverse range of shops - many located in buildings with a long and interesting history.

In fact, a Heritage Lottery Fund has helped transform many historic buildings in the village - breathing new life into shops and other premises while preserving their charming character. Take some time to explore. This is a village with a lot of personality and a lot of history.

In fact, while we're on the subject of history, Mr Telford's masterpiece owes more than a little to Cefn Mawr. Sandstone from the local quarries and ironwork from the local foundaries were all put to use. As well as the skills and craftsmanship of local people.

For more about Cefn Mawr's historical links with the aqueduct check out this webpage by Plas Kynaston Canal Group.