Built by civil engineer Thomas Telford in 1805 to carry the canal across the River Dee, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct stands at an impressive 38 metres (126 feet) high, making it the highest canal aqueduct ever built.
Pontcysyllte - “the bridge that connects” - is an equally impressive 307 metres (1,007 feet) long, with the River Dee flowing beneath it, and consists of 18 piers and 19 arches, each spanning 14 metres (45 feet). Take a trip here and it will soon be clear why so many refer to Telford’s phenomenal piece of engineering as a masterpiece.
In fact, “The stream in the sky”, and the surrounding 11-mile stretch of canal, is so spectacular that they were given UNESCO World Heritage status - alongside the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China - in 2009. The aqueduct is fed by water from the Horseshoe Falls near Llangollen, and the canal itself is definitely part of the attraction; visitors may simply want to take a peaceful stroll along the towpaths, especially those who aren’t so good with heights!
Not one to miss out on the action? The visitor centre at the aqueduct offers guided tours to day-trippers, or you can cross via canal boat from Llangollen Warf or the nearby quay. You’re in good hands; Peter Jones has taken passengers over Pontcysyllte in his boat, Eirlys, over 1,000 times. If you’d feel safer maneuvering the aqueduct yourself, visitors wanting to cross the aqueduct by foot can do so free of charge; it’s no less impressive.
The villages at either end of the aqueduct, Froncysyllte and Trevor, offer plenty of parking as well as shops and there’s the aptly named Telford Inn for enjoying a hearty meal after you’ve taken in the spectacular views Pontycysyllte has to offer. Both villages, as well as the Horseshoe Falls, are easily reached by walking along the canal towpath.
Can’t wait to explore this spectacular World Heritage site? View a full list of our self-catering holidays in Llangollen and the surrounding area here.
To the East of Llangollen, the bridge connect the villages of Trevor and Froncysyllte.
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