- Llangollen Canal
The Llangollen Canal is a
canalin Englandand Wales.
What is today known as the Llangollen Canal was originally the centre section of the
Ellesmere Canal, and later became part of the Shropshire Union Canalnetwork. Only with the increasing popularity of pleasure boats was it renamed the Llangollen Canal in an effort to attract more visitors.
canallinks Llangollenin Denbighshire, north Wales, with Hurlestonin south Cheshire, via the town of Ellesmere in north-west Shropshire.
The Ellesmere Canal was intended to link the
River Merseyat Netherpool (now known as Ellesmere Port) with the River Dee, and from there via Overton (south of Wrexham) to the River Severnat Shrewsbury. This proposed canal would have branches, to the iron making and coal mining areas at Bershambetween Wrexhamand Ruabon, and to Llanymynech, where the end of the proposed Montgomeryshire Canalwas. However, there were also suggestions that it would be better to take a more westerly route from the Dee to the Severn, passing directly through the Ruabon industrial area, and it was this proposal which was accepted. This route included a high level crossing over the Dee at Pontcysyllte, and a tunneland aqueductnear Chirk.
The Ellesmere Canal was never finished as intended, and the central section was only built from
Trevorto Weston Lullingfields, via Lower Frankton. Instead the centre section was extended westwards from Trevor, through Llangollen to Horseshoe Falls, a weir on the River Dee, as a navigable feeder. The canal was extended eastwards from Frankton Junctionvia Ellesmereand Whitchurchto Hurlestone Junctionnear Nantwich, on the then rival Chester Canal.
The Ellesmere Canal merged with the Chester Canal in 1813.
A merger with the
Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canalin 1845 was followed in 1846 by the formation of the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company, making the canal part of the Shropshire Union Canalnetwork.
Traffic on the canal greatly declined after a breach on the line to
Newtown, Powys(now considered part of the Montgomery Canal) in 1936. By 1939 traffic on the line from Hurlestonto Llangollenhad ceased, and the canal was formally closed to navigation under the London Midland and Scottish RailwayCompany Act of 1944. However, the line was retained to facilitate waterborne maintenance of bridges, as a water feeder for the Shropshire Union Canalmain line and for drinking water supply to the reservoir at Hurleston. An agreement in 1955 with the Mid & South East Cheshire Water Board secured the line's future.
On 6 September 1945, due to inadequate maintenance, the canal breached its banks east of
Llangollennear Sun Bank Halt. The flow of water washed away the embankment of the railway further down the hill. This caused the first train in the morning, a mail and goods train to crash into the breach, killing one and injuring two engine crew [http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/hist/accid.html] [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/sites/denbighshire/pages/int-eist1.shtml] .
In the late 20th century canal usage for leisure boating grew in popularity. The "Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union" became popular due to its aqueducts and scenery. The canal was renamed the Llangollen Canal, and become the most popular canal for holidaymakers in Britain.
The canal's most notable features include the
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, an aqueductengineered by Thomas Telfordto carry the canal over the valley of the River Dee east of Llangollen. Another aqueduct carries the canal over the River Ceiriog at Chirk, and there are tunnels nearby at Whitehouses, Chirk, and Ellesmere.
The canal also forms the boundary on two sides of the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve.
Hurleston to Frankton Junction
The canal at Hurleston Junction rises from the Shropshire Union Canal main line, through four adjacent locks.
Wrenburylift bridge is operated by use of a British Waterways key, and involves lowering barriers and stopping traffic on a sometimes-busy road.
Grindley Brookthe canal passes through three locks and a three-chamber staircase lock, attended during summer months by a lock keeper.
Whitchurcha short arm of the canal remains open. Originally this continued almost to the centre of the town, though sections have since been built over. Whitchurch Waterway Trustpromotes the restoration of this arm.
Between bridges 44 and 47 the canal passes through
Adjacent to bridge 46 is the Prees Arm of the canal. Originally intended to reach
Prees, it was only constructed as far as Quina Brook, and today is only open for a short distance, with a marinaat the end.
Between bridges 54 and 57 the canal passes the Ellesmere meres.
At Ellesmere there is a short arm towards the town.
The canal also passes though
Burland, Quoisley Bridge, and Bettisfield.
Frankton Junction to Trevor Basin
The canal passes through
Hindford, Saint Martin's, Preesgweene, Chirk Bank, Chirkand Froncysyllte.
Trevor Basin to Horseshoe Falls
This section was built as a navigable feeder and is both shallow and narrow. Some sections near Llangollen are too narrow for boats to pass and it is necessary to scout ahead to check for oncoming boats.
Navigation by powered craft is prohibited beyond the entrance to Llangollen Marina and the final section is used only by the horse drawn trip boats. BW maintains a gravel
Shoalimmediately upstream of the marina entrance at Llangollen Wharf. This maintains a draft which most narrowboats cannot pass, but which is passable by the shallow drafted trip boats.
A marina was constructed by British Waterways, close to Llangollen Wharf, in 2005 to relieve the acute shortage of casual moorings. It was intended to be larger, but local opposition restricted it to its present size. Fact|date=February 2008 A charge is made for all overnight mooring at Llangollen, and there is a 48 hour limit on moorings.
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