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Llangollen Canal

Llangollen Canal features the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – the highest and biggest in the British Isles – and the Chirk Tunnel.

Things to do nearby

Hurleston lock flight

Facts & Stats

48.8 miles

(78.5 km)

The length of the Llangollen Canal that is navigable.

21 locks


Year completed

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The work of Thomas Telford and William Jessop, the aqueduct is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a World Heritage Site and a Grade 1 listed structure, a waterways wonder and one of the wonders of Wales.

The aqueduct linked Llangollen with the rest of the Shropshire Union canal system.

It originally carried coal from local mines and supplied water from Horseshoe Falls into the rest of the Shropshire Union Canal.

The aqueduct still carries over 50 million litres of water each day to supply water to southern Cheshire and the canal therefore escaped the canal closures in the area.

Llangollen Canal Connections

The Llangollen Canal runs from the Shropshire Union Canal at Hurleston Junction to Llantysilio Bridge just beyond Llangollen, where it terminates into a feeder from the River Dee. The Llangollen Canal also links to the Montgomery Canal at Frankton Junction.

There are three arms, none with any locks:

  • Ellesmere Arm – open – 0.25 miles (0.4km)
  • Prees Branch – restored for 1.5 miles (2.4km) and 2.0 miles (3.2km) derelict
  • Whitchurch Arm – restored for 0.25 miles (0.4km) and 0.75 miles (1.2km) proposed for restoration.  The Whitchurch Arm was built by the Ellesmere Canal Company and opened in stages between 1808 and 1811.  Its use had ceased in the 1930s, and it was formally abandoned, along with the Llangollen Canal, in 1944.  When the latter was reopened in the 1950s, the Whitchurch Arm was not, as it had been filled in by 1950.  In 1983, Whitchurch Town Council funded a feasibility study to see if restoration was possible and Whitchurch Arm Trust was set up in 1986.  The Trust secured grants to fund the restoration of the first section of the Arm from its junction with the Llangollen Canal to the bridge at Chemistry, and this was completed in October 1993.  The Trust now owns and maintain this section, including Chemistry Bridge and derives income from long-term moorings on the Arm.The Trust plans to extend the canal under Chemistry Bridge and create a new basin with moorings on part of a country park, which would enable boats to moor closer to the town.  Planning permission has been obtained and the work costed at about £650k.  This would be along a new line, as this end of the Arm has been built over since it was abandoned.

Waterway notes

Maximum sizes

  • Length: 73′ 10″ (22.51 metres) – Grindley Brook locks
  • Width: 7′ 0″ (2.13 metres) – Hurleston Bottom Lock
  • Headroom: 7′ 0″ (2.13 metres)
  • Draught: 3′ 11″ (1.2 metres) – cill of Grindley Brook locks

Useful Info

  • Above Trevor, the canal shallows, and boats with a draught of more than 2′ 9″ (0.84 metres) will struggle, though historic narrow boats with a draught of 3′ 0″ (0.91 metres) have reached Llangollen.
  • A Sanitary Station key is required for Bridge 20 (Wrenbury Lift Bridge – electric)

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

HS2: Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal

The latest HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement proposals affect the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal in the Wimboldsley area north of Crewe.

Local activities