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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct world heritage birthday celebrations

By Sue Austin | Llangollen | Attractions | Published: | Last Updated:

The Canal & River Trust charity in Wales, Glandŵr Cymru, is hosting a free celebration at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, near Llangollen, on June 29 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Llangollen Canal’s designation as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Trevor Basin, situated next to Britain’s highest, longest aqueduct, will be the venue for an afternoon from 2-6pm, packed full of family-friendly activities and attractions – as well, of course, the opportunity to stroll along the stunning ‘Stream in the Sky’.

Organised in partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council and Our Picturesque Landscape project team, the event will feature coracle-building and trials, circus skills workshop, hands-on animals with Dr Zoolittle, Techniquest engineering activities, canoeing, mini gold course, a surfing simulator, and stalls and activities provided by local scouts and schools.

Lego fans can join the Big Lego Build workshop to re-create a scale model of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct using 15,000 bricks, and live music will be provided by local band Jabberwocky.

The event celebrates the important date of 27 June 2009, when the 200-year-old aqueduct, built by famous canal engineers Thomas Telford and William Jessop, plus 11 miles of the Llangollen Canal, joined the elite club of 1,000 Unesco World Heritage Sites, which includes such iconic structures as Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

Over the anniversary year, the Canal & River Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways, is working closely with Wrexham, Denbighshire and Shropshire councils and Cadw to organise a host of celebrations and events.

A photography competition for both children and adults, a specially-brewed beer, spectacular luminaire structure lighting, ‘Under the Arches’ celebration and a wide range of community and cultural events and workshops are taking place. The deadline for the children’s poetry competition is 8 July.

Free Let’s Fish angling taster sessions are being offered at Trevor Basin on Saturday 22 and 29 June, and at Chirk on Saturday 6 and 13 July, 10-4.30pm. Free outdoor yoga lessons will take place on Tuesday 3,10,17 September, 2pm.

Coachloads

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Lynda Slater, Trevor Basin Visitor Centre manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “Over the last decade, the World Heritage Site designation has really helped to put the Llangollen Canal and our spectacular aqueduct on the international tourist map. This special 10th anniversary party will be a celebration event for local residents and visitors alike. It would be great to see old friends and also people who want to discover the beautiful canal for the first time.

“The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has gone from being a national treasure to a tourist destination of international significance. During the main summer season we get coachloads of tourists from dozens of different countries, mixing with thousands of British holiday makers, walkers, boaters and cyclists. A café boat was installed in 2017 and last year we opened new car parks to provide extra capacity during the peak summer months which has helped.

“Visitor numbers have quadrupled over the decade, with nearly half a million people viewing the ‘Stream in the Sky’ and the Trevor Basin Visitor Centre last year, providing a boost for the local economy.

“Visitors come from all over the world, with Australians and Japanese heading the international league table. Signing the centre’s visitor book last year were tourists from 52 countries from faraway places such as Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as most European nations.”

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The Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular canals in the country with boaters. With the opportunity to cruise over two stunning aqueducts at Pontcysyllte and Chirk, and meander through the beautiful Welsh countryside, it is a hot favourite with people wanting to spend their week’s holiday on the waterways.

But sightseers don’t have to own or hire a boat to enjoy the thrill of sailing in the sky. Two trip boat companies, Jones the Boats and Llangollen Boats provide regular short trips over the Pontcysyllte, and Anglo Welsh, operating from nearby Trevor Basin, offers day boat hire.

For more information about visiting the Pontcysyllte and Llangollen Canal World Heritage, special events or supporting these 200-year-old heritage structures by donating or volunteering with the Canal & River Trust, go to canalrivertrust.org.uk

Find out about special events on the Pontcysyllte and Trevor Basin Visitor Centre at its dedicated Facebook page or through Twitter or Instagram.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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