Pontcysyllte Viaduct and the River Dee

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The objective of this walk is the crossing of the great aqueduct on the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. It is about 40m or 130 feet above the River Dee which flows below it and as you cross you have a railing on one side and the canal on the other. This kind of thing doesn't bother me, but some people find it intimidating. A Danish tourist just before me wrote in the comments book in the Visitor Centre that he had crossed with trembling knees!

The walk begins in Ty Mawr Country Park that is oriented towards children and it finishes with a stroll along the Dee and back through the park. There are few footpaths and river crossings near the start, so the walk includes some walking along a B road with a wide pavement. By diverting into two villages I managed to cut this down to about 1km or twenty minutes on the road. There is one steep flight of steps from the canal down to the riverbank, but apart from that the walk is fairly level.

Built by famous engineer Thomas Telford, the Pontcysyllte Viaduct uses an iron trough to carry the water across the valleys, supported on stone piers. Pontcysyllte was the largest engineering feat of its day, taking ten years to build.

Even today the figures for the construction are awe-inspiring. The piers are 127 feet high and support an iron trough carrying the canal 1,007 feet across the River Dee. The aqueduct holds 1.5 million litres of water. There are 19 arches, each with a 45ft span and piers 116ft high, which are partly hollow to reduce the weight.

Wales - North Wales - Wrexham - Common or Park


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Wheelchairs, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Moor, Mostly Flat, Museum, Nature Trail, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland
8/18/2022 - Jon Tomblin

The B5605 at Newbridge is closed to traffic due to a major landslip in January 2021. However, walkers and cyclists can easily get through. It may still be a while before it reopens so walking along the road from Ty Mawr is currently traffic free. Despite road closure signs, Ty Mawr is accessible from the north, the landslip is after the park. Doesn't detract from a very enjoyable walk!

1/23/2017 - Andrew Martin Pleass

Lovely walk on a crisp winter's day. Good walk also following heavy rains as it is mainly on quietish roads, canal towpaths, and firm country park paths which negate muddy underfoot conditions. Full of interest and spectacular sights both of the aqueduct and the nearby Cefn viaduct. Great views from the aqueduct. Lovely stretches alongside the River Dee.

7/29/2014 - Norman Brannick

Took my wife on this walk 29th July 2014, she suffers with a knee problem so this was the ideal walk for her, not too many ascents or descents. Excellent views from the aqueduct, with a really nice stroll back along the banks of the River Dee to the car park. Plenty of places to sit and rest along the way. Thank you walking world for a really enjoyable day out.

11/5/2012 - stanley gilroy

Very impressed with this walk. Walked it late Autumn giving spectacular views as leaves changed colour.

9/6/2011 - Josephine Brown

01.09.2011 Thoroughly enjoyed this walk, although the initial unavoidable walking on the B road was not too pleasant, quite busy for a B road and the pavement narrow in places. Once the canal was reached it was great for our dog - only needed to be on a lead for crossing the aqueduct, and no stiles.

8/22/2011 - Leighton Jones

A good easy walk with a spectacular high point in the crossing of the aqueduct. A head for heights makes the crossing more comfortable.

2/15/2011 - Ann Ball

Lovely walk. Easy to follow paths. Half of walk on tarmac path, so good for wet times. Fairly good under foot along river despite recent heavy rain and flooding. Walk time guide is generous.

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