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SHROPSHIRE CANALS 

  

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Llangollen Canal

 

HISTORY

 

Miles

Locks

Opened

Closed

Route

46½

21

1805

1806

1806

1806

1806

Frankton Junction  (SJ370318

Trevor Basin (SJ271427)

Frankton Junction (SJ370318)

Junction with Main Canal  (SJ489352)

Junction with Main Canal (SJ528415)

Trevor Basin (SJ271427)

Horseshoe Falls (SJ196433)

Hurleston Junction (SJ626553)

Quina Brook (SJ524330)

Whitchurch (SJ541414)

 

What is known today as the Llangollen Canal was originally planned to be part of the Ellesmere Canal, which was supposed to link the Rivers Mersey, Dee and Severn by running from Netherpool (now known as Ellesmere Port) to Shrewsbury. The idea was launched at a meeting in Ellesmere in 1791 and it was planned to serve the iron, coal and limestone industries around Wrexham, Ruabon and Llanymynech.

 

 

 

In the event, the canal never reached Shrewsbury and the main line via Wrexham was not built.  Instead, the canal was extended to Horseshoe Falls, west of Llangollen and a section from Whitchurch linked it to the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal at Harleston Junction. Thus the separate parts of the planned Ellesmere Canal subsequently became known as :-

 

Llangollen Canal - from Horseshoe Falls to Harleston Junction, with various short arms

 

Montgomery Canal (part of) – from Frankton Junction to Llanymynech, with an arm to Weston Lullingfields

 

Shropshire Union Canal (part of) - from Ellesmere Port to the Chester Canal.

John Duncombe surveyed the route and the engineer William Jessop was called in to advise.  There were major engineering obstacles with deep valleys and high ground, involving a climb of 303ft from Chester to Wrexham, a 4,607 yard tunnel at Ruabon, a high level crossing over the Dee at Pontcysyllte, a further tunnel and aqueduct near Chirk and a tunnel in Shropshire near Weston Lullingfields. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1793, Jessop being appointed as engineer and Thomas Telford as General Agent. Construction of the main line started from Ellesmere Port towards the Chester Canal and, at the same time, the part lying in Shropshire was driven north and south from Frankton.  The section from the Mersey to the Dee near Chester, was opened in 1795, allowing the company to generate revenue from tolls in order to help finance construction of the rest of the canal. The Chirk Aqueduct was opened in 1801 and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in 1805 but it was then decided to abandon the main route north as uneconomic, due to rising costs and resistance from property holders to sell their land to the canal company. The canal was thus terminated at Trevor Basin, 2 miles south-west of Ruabon.  At the same time, it was decided to abandon the plan to reach the Severn, as the Shrewsbury Canal has already reached the town.  By that time, the canal had reached Weston Lullingfields.

It had been planned to have a major feeder reservoir north-west of Wrexham but this was not now possible.  As a result, a feeder canal was constructed along the Dee valley to the Horseshoe Falls, being made navigable as far as Llangollen.  Thus the only part of the main line so far constructed only ran from Trevor Basin to Weston Lullingfields. This left the canal isolated, so the planned Whitchurch branch was extended to link the canal to the rest of the waterways network. This section was constructed from Frankton via Ellesmere to the Chester Canal at Hurleston Junction. It was finished in sections between 1797-1806 and became the new main line. As the new route by-passed Whitchurch, the extension included a short arm to reach the town. Another branch was originally intended to reach Prees but was abandoned at Quina Brook.

The Ellesmere Canal merged with the Chester Canal in 1813, forming the Ellesmere and Chester Canal Company.  In 1845, the company merged with the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal and in 1846 became part of the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company. By 1939, traffic on the canal from Hurleston Junction to Llangollen had ceased and the whole of the Ellesmere Canal network, other than the line from Ellesmere Port to Chester, was closed to navigation by London Midland & Scottish Railway Company Act of 1944.  On 6th September 1945, due to inadequate maintenance, the canal breached its banks east of Llangollen near Sun Bank Halt. The flow of hundreds of tons of water washed away the embankment of the railway further down the hill, tearing out a 40 yard crater 50ft deep. This caused a train to crash into the breach, killing one person and injuring two engine crew. Following repair, however, the line from Horseshoe Falls to Hurleston Junction was retained as a water feeder for the Shropshire Union Canal main line and, following an agreement in 1955 with the Mid & South East Cheshire Water Board, as a feeder for Hurleston Reservoir.

Despite the formal closure, the canal started to become popular with pleasure boats and it was rebranded as the Llangollen Canal.  In 2009, an 11 mile section of the canal from Gledrid Bridge near Rhoswiel (in Shropshire) to the Horseshoe Falls via  Chirk Aqueduct and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage site. In the latter half of the 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 later renamed the Llangollen Canal becoming one of the most popular canals for holidaymakers in Britain.

ROUTE THROUGH SHROPSHIRE

1)  Grindleybrook Bridge – Whitchurch / Wrexham Road Bridge

Grindleybrook

Bridge

(M Bell)

Grindleybrook

Bottom Lock

(J Kelsey)

 

Grindleybrook

Middle Lock

(S Atty)

Grindleybrook

Top Lock

(S Atty)

 

Scotch Hall

Bridge

(G Farmer)

 

Grindleybrook

Staircase Locks

(M Gaunt)

Danson’s Farm Bridge

(S Atty)

New  A41 Bridge

(S Atty)

 

New Mills Bridge

(P Scott)

Whitchurch Arm

(P Scott)

 

New A41 Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Wrexham Road Bridge

(S Atty)

 

2)  Wrexham Road Bridge – Blackoe Bridge

Hassall’s East

Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Hassall’s West Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Spark’s Bridge

(S Atty)

Duddleston Bridge

(S Atty)

Old Man’s Bridge

(S Atty)

Railway Bridge

(S Atty)

Blackoe Bridge

(S Atty)

3)  Blackoe Bridge – Prees Arm Junction

Springhill Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Tilstock Park Bridge

(S Addy)

Platt Lane Bridge

(S Atty)

Roundthorn Bridge

(S Atty)

Morris Bridge

(S Atty)

Whixall Moss

Roving Bridge

(S Atty)

4)  Prees Arm Junction – Quina Brook

Allman’s Bridge

(P Stockdale)

 

Stark’s Bridge

(P Scott)

Dobson’s Bridge

(P Stockdale)

Whixall Marina

(R Jones)

5)  Prees Arm Junction – Hampton Bank Bridge

Cornhill Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Bettisfield Bridge

(S Atty)

Clapping Gate Bridge

(M Vye)

Hampton Bank Bridge

(S Atty)

6)  Hampton Bank Bridge – Little Mill Bridge

Lyneal Lane Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Greaves’ Bridge

(S Atty)

Lyneal Road Bridge

(S Atty)

Miss Each Bridge

(S Atty)

Little Mill Bridge

(S Atty)

7)  Little Mill Bridge – Ellesmere Wharf / Claypit Bridge

Burns Wood Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Ellesmere Tunnel

(S Atty)

Red Bridge

(S Atty)

Stank’s Bridge

(S Atty)

White Mill Bridge

(S Atty)

Coachman’s Bridge

(S Atty)

Claypit Bridge

(S Atty)

8)  Claypit Bridge – Pollet’s Bridge

Val Hill Lower Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Val Hill Middle Bridge

(S Atty)

Val Hill Upper Bridge

(S Atty)

Broom Bridge

(S Atty)

Pryce’s Bridge

(S Atty)

Peter’s Bridge

(S Atty)

Rowson’s Bridge

(D Brown)

 

Nicholas Bridge

(S Atty)

Rodenhurst Bridge

(S Atty)

Maestermyn

House Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Maestermyn Bridge

(S Atty)

Pollet’s Bridge

(S Atty)

9)  Pollet’s Bridge – St Martin’s Bridge

Broom’s Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Paddock

Lower Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Paddock Upper Bridge

(S Atty)

Railway Bridge

(M Vye)

Hindford Bridge

(S Atty)

New Marton

Bottom Lock

(A MacDonald Smith)

 

New Marton

Top Lock

(A MacDonald Smith)

New Marton Bridge

(S Atty)

St Martin’s Bridge

(S Atty)

 

10)       St Martin’s Bridge – Chirk Aqueduct

Sarn Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Preeshenlle Bridge

(S Atty)

Belmont Bridge

(S Atty)

Moreton Bridge

(C Jones)

Rhoswiel Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Gledrid Bridge

(S Atty)

 

Monk Bridge

(S Atty)

Chirk Aqueduct

(M Bell)

 

Table of Features

 

Only the locations in Shropshire have a link for Google map

Hurleston Junction – Monks’ Bridge

 

Location

Feature

SJ626553

Hurleston Junction

SJ624553

Hurleston Bottom Lock 1

SJ624553

Hurleston Lock 2

SJ624553

Hurleston Lock 3

SJ624553

Hurleston Top Lock 4

SJ621552

Hurleston Pipe Bridge

SJ619551

Hurleston Bridge 1

SJ619551

Hurleston Bridge 1A

SJ616548

Bachehouse Bridge 2

SJ615546

Martin's Bridge 3

SJ614542

Lee's Bridge 4

SJ616537

Platt's Bridge 5

SJ616534

Burland Bridge 6

SJ617528

Burland Pipe Bridge

SJ616525

Swanley Bottom Lock 5

SJ616525

Swanley Bridge 8

SJ614522

Butcher’s Bridge 9

SJ612520

Swanley Top Lock 6

SJ610518

Stoneley Green Bridge 10

SJ610515

Stoneley Green Pipe Bridge

SJ610514

Bethill’s Bridge 11

SJ609508

Halls Lane Bridge 12

SJ609505

Greenfield Bridge 13

SJ608499

Baddiley Bottom Lock 7

SJ607496

Baddiley Middle Lock 8

SJ606494

Baddiley Bridge 14

SJ606492

Baddiley Top Lock 9

SJ606488

Wrenbury Heath Bridge 15

SJ604484

Wrenbury Bridge 16

SJ603481

Wrenbury Hall Bridge 17

SJ597480

Starkey's Bridge 18

SJ593481

Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge 19

SJ589480

Wrenbury Lift Bridge 20

SJ584476

Wrenbury Frith Lift Bridge 21

SJ576473

Thomason’s Bridge 22

SJ561465

Church Bridge 23

SJ561464

Marbury Lock 10

SJ552463

Steer Bridge 24

SJ538464

Quoisley Bridge 25

SJ537463

Quoisley Lock 11

SJ533451

Willey Moor Lock 12

SJ531446

Povey's Lock 13

SJ526438

Jackson's Bridge 26

SJ522434

Grindley Railway Bridge 27

SJ523433

Grindley Brook Bridge 28

SJ523433

Grindley Brook Lower Lock

SJ523432

Grindley Brook Middle Lock

SJ524431

Grindley Brook Upper Lock

SJ524429

Scotch Hall Bridge 29

SJ524429

Grindley Brook Staircase Lock

SJ523418

Danson’s Farm Bridge 30

SJ526417

New A41 Road Bridge 30A

SJ528416

New Mills Bridge 31

SJ528415

Junction with Whitchurch Arm

SJ527414

Winding Hole

SJ526414

New A41 Road Bridge 31A

SJ524414

Wrexham Road Bridge 32

SJ522412

Winding Hole

SJ521412

Hassell’s East Bridge 33

SJ519410

Hassell’s West Bridge 34

SJ518406

Spark’s Bridge 35

SJ518405

Winding Hole (infilled)

SJ518402

Footbridge 36 (demolished)

SJ518397

Duddleston Bridge 37

SJ513396

Old Man’s Bridge 38

SJ513393

Cambrian Railway Bridge 39

SJ514391

Blackoe Bridge 40

SJ515389

Winding Hole

SJ515385

Springhill Bridge 41

SJ513378

Tilstock Park Bridge 42

SJ513377

Winding Hole

SJ511365

Platt Lane Bridge 43

SJ501357

Roundthorn Bridge 44

SJ394354

Morris Bridge 45

SJ489352

Roving Bridge 46

SJ489352

Junction with Prees Arm

SJ466356

Cornhill Bridge 47

SJ460355

Bettisfield Bridge 48

SJ456354

Clapping Gate Bridge 49

SJ451344

Hampton Bank Bridge 50

SJ449343

Winding Hole

SJ442342

Lyneal Lane Bridge 51

SJ440338

Greaves’ Bridge 52

SJ439335

Lyneal Bridge 53

SJ434335

Yell Bridge 54

SJ428335

Little Mill Bridge 55

SJ421337

Burns Wood Bridge 56

SJ413340

Ellesmere Tunnel 57 East Portal

SJ412340

Ellesmere Tunnel 57 West Portal

SJ403343

Ellesmere Marina

SJ402343

Red Bridge 58

SJ401343

Junction with Ellesmere Arm

SJ401343

White Bridge 59

SJ399346

Ellesmere Wharf

SJ391337

Stank’s Bridge 60

SJ387333

White Mill Bridge 61

SJ385330

Coachman’s Bridge 62

SJ382326

Clay Pit Bridge 63

SJ386322

Val Hill Lower Bridge 64

SJ386320

Val Hill Middle Bridge 65

SJ384320

Val Hill Upper Bridge 66

SJ380318

Broom Farm Bridge 67

SJ375318

Pryce’s Bridge 68

SJ371318

Peter’s Bridge 69

SJ370318

Frankton Junction

SJ370319

Rowson’s Bridge 1W

SJ366320

Nicholas Bridge 2W

SJ364321

Rodenhurst Bridge 3W

SJ356325

Maestermyn House Bridge 4W

SJ354326

Maestermyn Bridge 5W

SJ353326

Maestermyn Marina

SJ349327

Pollet’s Bridge 6W

SJ346328

Broom’s Bridge 7W

SJ344328

Paddock Lower Bridge 8W

SJ339329

Paddock Upper Bridge 9W

SJ338329

Old Railway Bridge 10W (demolished)

SJ335330

Hindford Bridge 11W

SJ331342

New Marton Bottom Lock

SJ329348

New Marton Top Lock

SJ328349

New Marton Bridge 12W

SJ314357

St Martin’s Bridge 13W

SJ312357

Sarn Bridge 14W

SJ308358

Preeshenlle Bridge 15W

SJ304357

Belmont Bridge 16W

SJ301357

Lion Quays Marina

SJ300357

Moreton Bridge 17W

SJ296360

Colliery Sidings Bridge 17A (demolished)

SJ296362

Rhoswiel Bridge 18W

SJ297365

Winding Hole

SJ297367

Winding Hole

SJ298369

Gledrid Bridge 19W

SJ295370

Quinta Bridge 20W

SJ292371

Monk’s Bridge 21W

SJ287372

Chirk Aqueduct South End

SJ287373

Chirk Aqueduct North End

SJ285373

Chirk Pool

SJ285374

Chirk Tunnel  South  Portal 22W

SJ283378

Chirk Tunnel North  Portal 23W

SJ283389

Winding Hole

SJ284398

Chirk Marina

SJ285401

Whitehouse Tunnel South  Portal 24W

SJ284402

Whitehouse Tunnel North  Portal 25W

SJ284403

Whitehouse Bridge 26W

SJ284407

Irish Bridge 27W

SJ271414

Fron Footbridge 28WA

SJ270414

Fron Lift Bridge 28W

SJ269419

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct South End

SJ269421

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct North End

SJ271422

Ruabon Branch Junction

SJ270422

Pont Cysyllte Bridge 30W

SJ269422

Rhos-y-Coed Bridge 31W

SJ268422

Postle’s Bridge 32W

SJ268422

White Bridge 33W

SJ260415

Plas-y-Pentre Bridge 34W

SJ257413

Millar’s Bridge 35W

SJ255414

Bryn-Ceirch Bridge 36W

SJ252415

Plas-Isaf Bridge 37W

SJ249417

Winding Hole

SJ248417

Bryn Howel Bridge 38W

SJ248419

Vale of Llangollen Bridge 39W

SJ248420

Plas Ifan Pipe Bridge

SJ247420

Plas Ifan Bridge 40W

SJ239423

Sun Trevor Bridge 41W

SJ233425

Wenffrwd Bridge 42W

SJ230425

Llanddyn Bridge 43W

SJ227423

Llanddyn Lift Bridge 44W

SJ214422

Siambr Bridge 45W

SJ214422

Llangollen Wharf

SJ209426

Pen-y-ddol Bridge 46W

SJ208428

Tower Bridge 47W

SJ206435

Pentre-Felin Bridge 48W

SJ202435

Ty Craig Bridge 48WA

SJ198434

Llantysilio Bridge 49W

SJ198433

Foot Bridge

SJ197433

Kings Bridge 49WA

SJ194433

Llantisilio - Horseshoe Falls

 

Whitchurch Arm to Whitchurch

 

Location

Feature

SJ528415

Llangollen Canal Junction

SJ530416

Winding Hole

SJ531416

Stoplock

SJ531415

Bridge (demolished)

SJ532415

New Road (Meadowcroft) (infilled)

SJ533415

New Road (Greenfields Way) (infilled)

SJ536417

New Road (Waterside Close) (infilled)

SJ537416

Bridge (demolished)

SJ541414

Whitchurch Wharf(infilled)

 

Prees Arm to Quina Brook

 

Location

Feature

SJ489352

Llangollen Canal Junction

SJ491349

Allman’s Lift Bridge 1

SJ492346

Stark’s Lift Bridge 2

SJ492343

Dobson’s Bridge 3

SJ496341

Whixall Marina

SJ497340

Aqueduct (destroyed)

SJ498337

Boodle’s Bridge 4

SJ498331

Waterloo Bridge 5

SJ503327

Poolhead Bridge 6

SJ514322

Sydney Bridge 7

SJ517321

Edstaston Bridge 8

SJ518322

Winding Hole (infilled)

SJ521324

Edstaston Park Bridge 9

SJ532239

Winding Hole (infilled)

SJ524330

End of Canal

 

Ellesmere Arm to Ellesmere

 

SJ401343

Llangollen Canal Junction

SJ401343

White Bridge 59

SJ399346

Ellesmere Wharf

 

Ruabon Arm to Trevor Basin

 

Location

Feature

SJ271422

Llangollen Canal Junction

SJ269422

Hirebase Footbridge

SJ270423

Scotch Hall Bridge 29

SJ271427

Trevor Basin