Posted 22nd Feb 2018
In the next of our History of the Waterways features, courtesy of Insure4Boats and the Canal and River Trust, we find out about Chirk Aqueduct
No one single person contributed more to create canals, bridges and aqueducts that we now enjoy today than Scottish civil engineer and architect Thomas Telford.
Known as the 'Man of Iron', one of his most enthralling creations is the Chirk Aqueduct - at 70-foot-high and 710-foot-long, the aqueduct spans the Llangollen Canal between England and Wales.
The foundation stone was laid on 17th June 1796, with the design based on Telford's previous 'Lougdon-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's pieced together from a bed of thick iron plates, which is 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.
Did you know…
- Each of the Chirk Aqueduct's ten arches span a whooping 40 feet.
- At the time it was built, the aqueduct briefly became the tallest ever built.
- The aqueduct is Grade II listed in both England and Wales, as it runs through both.
- If you need to get off and stretch your legs, why not visit Chirk Castle? There's over 700 years of history in 480 acres of parkland.