Chirk Aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal across the Ceiriog Valley, near Chirk, and spans both England and Wales. It was designed by Thomas Telford for what was then the Ellesmere Canal.- John Benson, Canal & River Trust Archivist
No one person did more to create the canals, bridges and aqueducts that we enjoy today than Scottish civil engineer and architect Thomas Telford.
Dubbed the ‘Man of Iron’, one of his most enthralling creations is the Chirk Aqueduct – a 70-foot-high and 710-foot-long aqueduct that spans the Llangollen Canal between England and Wales.
The foundation stone was laid on 17th June 1796, and the design was based on Telford’s previous ‘Longdon-on-Tern’ aqueduct that he had built over the Shrewsbury Canal. Like his previous design, the Chirk Aqueduct does not have a single, long, cast-iron trough to carry the canal’s water. Instead, it is pieced together from a bed of thick iron plates – sided with stone from a local quarry. They had to add more iron side pates in 1870 when there was some leaking – but otherwise the aqueduct has held up to this day, with countless photographers and painters travelling to see its beauty. In fact, it was so successful – that Telford stuck with a similar design for his other aqueduct further down the Llangollen Canal – the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
5 things to do nearby
Chirk Castle - Located on the Welsh Marches, the impressive medieval building is a wonderful place to visit and learn about the local history.
St. Mary's Church - Based less than a mile away from the Chirk Aqueduct, this 11th century church is the ideal place for any history buff.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - Just three miles from Chirk is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - an idyllic canal in the beautiful Welsh countryside.
British Ironwork Centre - Featuring work from some of the best blacksmiths in Britain, this centre is well known for having the biggest display of metalwork in the UK.
Llangollen Railway - If you enjoy a bit of train spotting, then this historic railway is the perfect place to visit.
Image credit: John Hayward / Alamy