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New Pontcysyllte history and guide book to be published

Britain’s most recent World Heritage Site, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, near Wrexham, comes under the spotlight in a new lively, combined history and guide book.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct history and guide book

Published in English and Welsh by the Canal & River Trust, in partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales,and with the support of Visit Wales and Cadw, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site takes readers on a fascinating journey through time.

Written by historian Dr Peter Wakelin, it examines how and why the aqueduct and canal were built just over 200 years ago, how they influenced the Industrial Revolution and what visitors to the canal can enjoy today – the aqueducts, tunnels, cuttings, embankment, wharfs, settlements and remains of industries. The story is broken down into easily-digested chapters and sections to guide walkers, boaters and visitors by car or bike. There is help too for non-Welsh speakers on pronunciation of the great monument - ‘pont-cuss-ull-teh' meaning ‘the bridge that joins'.

Thomas Telford and William Jessop

Each of the main attractions along the 11-mile World Heritage Site is explained and special features are devoted to a range of topics including key figures such as engineers Thomas Telford and William Jessop, canal navvies, boat people, wildlife and other nearby World Heritage sites.

Maps, diagrams, historical photographs and paintings as well as striking reconstruction images all help to illustrate the text and bring this unique canal story to life.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Andrew Stumpf from the Canal & River Trust said: “Every year more than 500,000 people enjoy a visit to the World Heritage Site. We want them to enjoy the experience even more by having a chance to find out about the significance of the structures they are looking at and the role they played not only in local history but in the world. This guide book will both enhance and enrich their experience and, I hope, encourage them to stay longer and explore further”.

“Author Peter Wakelin has done a first rate job in balancing the needs of the serious historian with the casual interest of a day trip visitor. Within the pages of the book are fascinating facts, sumptuous colour illustrations and useful tips on how to get the most out of a visit to the Llangollen, Chirk and the wider area.”

Architectural beauty

Royal Commission Secretary, Christopher Catling, added: “Today it is difficult to hear the words ‘Industrial Revolution' without thinking about human exploitation and climate change but Peter's book reminds us that it had another side: he shows us that the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a magnificent achievement of engineering, ingenuity and architectural beauty.”

Buy the book

The book has been supported by contributions from Visit Wales and Cadw, is priced £9.99 and is available to buy from the Canal & River Trust at:

It is also available by to buy by credit card - contact the National Waterways Museum's Christopher Done on 0151 555017 or email [email protected]

Last Edited: 17 May 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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