Boat Hire

Llangollen & return from Wrenbury Mill - 7 Nights

Cruising Time Per Day 5.5hrs • Total Locks 24


Wrenbury to Llangollen – Towards Whitchurch , Ellesmere, past Frankton Junction, across Chirk Aqueduct then Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and back – 7 nights – total locks 24 (12 x 2)

Part of this route has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highlight, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, is the most unpronounceable, most talked about aqueduct on Britain's canals! Manmade canal engineering marvels successfully vie for a boater's attention, competing with internationally important wetlands and rare birds, munching sheep set in inspirational views and an ancient landscape of Ice-Age lakes.

Your journey begins at Wrenbury Mill, a short walk from Wrenbury’s quintessentially English village green. The canal ambles through quiet rural surroundings with isolated locks and lift bridges, and Grindley Brook presents your first major canal challenge – the last three locks are joined together in a staircase – a lock keeper is on hand to help during the busy summer season.

The historic town of Whitchurch dates back to Roman times and is recorded in the Domesday Book. Famed for Joyce's tower clocks, it was also the collection point for Cheshire cheese to be loaded onto canal boats and transported to Ellesmere Port for export. Whitchurch’s other claim to canal fame is a former rector of St Alkmund’s Church. Francis Henry Egerton came from the lineage of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater who instructed canal engineer James Brindley to build the Bridgewater Canal, hence launching a canal revolution!

The canal crosses the huge expanse of the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Together with Cadney and Wem Mosses, the area forms Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog, is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, a European Special Area of Conservation, and is apparently large enough to be seen from space! It is teeming with plant and insect life, and bird too, with sightings of Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and countless others.

Just past bridge 53, the canal bends round past Cole Mere, the first of several Ice-Age meres along this stunning landscape, then through the short Ellesmere Tunnel (87yds/80m long) as you approach the pretty town of Ellesmere. There’s plenty to explore here including the Meres Visitor Centre by the Mere which gave Ellesmere its name. Ellesmere Yard, opposite the town arm, is a rare example of an unspoilt and much-cherished canal scene, a well-preserved canal maintenance yard dating from the early 1800s. Engineer Thomas Telford worked here while building this canal.

At Frankton Junction, the Montgomery Canal branches off to the south, while the Llangollen Canal soon quietly loops round to cross Chirk Aqueduct, leaving England behind and entering Wales. Grade II*-listed Chirk Aqueduct is 70ft high, built of masonry and stone, with 10 spans of 40ft each to carry the canal over the river. The history of canals as transport routes and the invention of their rival railways is written powerfully in the landscape here, as the railway exerted its importance in 1846-48 by building the viaduct 30ft higher. As you cruise over the aqueduct, don't be surprised if a train screams past in its hurry.

Before plunging into Chirk Tunnel (459yds/420m long), keep any eye out for approaching boats, as it’s not wide enough for two boats to pass. The canal follows the path of the railway past Chirk then through short Whitehouse Tunnel (191yds/175m long). Again, check before you enter. Excitement builds with innocent hills and fields of sheep bordering the canal on one side, and on the other glimpses through trees to the River Dee below - wafting a hint of the mighty moment that lies ahead! From here most boats cruise in slow sweaty haste, passing Fron Lift Bridge, before turning northwards to where the marvel awaits - Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the longest and highest aqueduct in the UK, 1007ft long and 127ft high, and spans the river in the valley below. Built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, the aqueduct was completed in 1805 and is considered one of Telford’s greatest engineering achievements. The aqueduct and 11 miles of the Llangollen Canal, built between 1795 and 1808, stretching from Horseshoe Falls at Llangollen through to Chirk Aqueduct, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. This inspirational feat of engineering sends shivers to the vertiginous and the non-vertiginous. Believe it, or not, its 18 arches are held together with ox blood and Welsh flannel to keep the Llangollen Canal in flight above the River Dee.

Beyond the aqueduct, the water winds its narrow leafy way through idyllic Welsh countryside past sheep-filled fields and under pretty stone bridges, as it hugs the hillside with occasional peeks over the stunning river below. The canal becomes very narrow approaching Llangollen then opens out into perfect visitor moorings just beyond the Wharf. Llangollen is an exciting town to explore and, if time allows, walk to Horseshoe Falls at the end of the canal. Here, the water swirls into an impressive circular weir across the River Dee, marking Thomas Telford's dramatic finale to his canal. The weir isn't merely for visual effect - it keeps a constant supply of water flowing into the canal.

Before engines were invented, canal boats were pulled by real horse power and you can step straight back into history on the horse-pulled trip boat that meanders from busy Llangollen Wharf towards the end of the navigable canal. It’s a thrill to see these gentle giants at work.

It’s then time to follow your route back to Wrenbury, with the thrill of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and those idyllic Welsh water-miles ahead again. Your return should be quicker than your outward as, unusually, this canal has a flow of 2mph as it feeds other canals.


The following are examples of the boats that you can hire from ABC Boat Hire at Wrenbury Mill:


Alvechurch Weaver - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Weaver - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Grebe - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Tyne Class - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 48ft, Crusier Stern

Alvechurch Wren - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Bunting - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 47ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Heron - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 58ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Heron - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 58ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Lark - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Viking Wye Class - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 68ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Woodpecker - For a maximum of 8 people, 4+4Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Owl - For a maximum of 10 people, 6+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern



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