Safety on the Canal

The Llangollen Canal is a beautiful place to visit in all seasons, and there are many ways to enjoy the World Heritage Site both on and by the water. However, we want everyone to enjoy the canal, stay safe next to water and enjoy being out in the wonderful fresh air, amongst the local wildlife and spend time relaxing along the canal.

*Pontcysyllte Aqueduct


  • Canals are often shallow, which you can’t tell from the surface. If you jump in you are likely to injure yourself, possibly seriously.
  • However, don’t be fooled by thinking that all canals are shallow. If you can’t put your feet on the ground, it’ll be much harder to get out. Rivers, reservoirs and docks are generally much deeper, and colder.

Hidden dangers

  • Canals are havens for wildlife and maintaining water habitats are an important part of our work. If you’re in the water, reeds and other plant life could get tangled around your limbs and trap you in the water making it very difficult to climb out.
  • Sadly, rubbish like shopping trolleys can be lurking below the surface of canals and rivers. If you’re in the water you could injure yourself by cutting yourself on a rusty old bicycle or broken glass, or get trapped on a larger piece of rubbish, like a trolley or even a motorbike.


  • Even on a hot day, the water will be colder than you think. Particularly in winter, water temperature can drop to icy conditions, and if you jump into unexpectedly cold water the low temperature can cause your limbs and muscles to become fatigued very quickly – this can lead to drowning.


  • As well as potential hidden objects in the water, the sudden cold temperatures and unknown water depth, boats may not be able to see you in the water and won’t know to stop.
  • If you see someone who is in the water and in trouble, do not get into the water. Instead: call the emergency services on 999, keep talking to the person and if possible offer them a long branch or line to help them out of the water.


  • Keep your dog on a lead along the towpaths, so that it does not risk jumping into the water.
  • If your dog goes into the water, do not jump in after it: Call it to you and lift them out safely, or use a long branch to help guide them to you.


While extremely rare, waterborne diseases should be considered and precautions taken.

  • Keep cuts or scratches covered
  • If you fall in, take a shower and treat cuts with antiseptic
  • Wash clothing before wearing again
  • If you experience flu-like symptoms, see a doctor and mention that you fell into the water

Walking near to the water

  • Plan your route and make sure you have enough daylight to complete it
  • It is safer to walk with others
  • Stay away from the edge of the water. Surfaces near to the canal can be slippery with ice or wet weather, increasing the risk of falling in, especially during winter
  • Check the weather before you leave
  • Wear the correct clothing, and perhaps take some spare warm clothing in case of emergency
  • Take your phone, or a whistle, to alert others in case of emergency

Paddling the World Heritage Site

Paddle the right way along 11 miles of stunning heritage. The Llangollen Canal is a great place for beginners, family groups or anyone looking for easy access, predictable conditions and lots to see.