Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal

Inscribed in 2009

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was begun in 1795 to carry a navigable canal across the Dee Valley in north Wales, and is still in operation 200 years later. It is the first great masterpiece of the civil engineer Thomas Telford (1757–1834) and formed the basis of his outstanding international reputation.

It is a spectacular example of canal engineering in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, encompassing an architectural masterpiece in a dramatic landscape setting. Its nineteen cast-iron spans carry the waterway 126 feet / 38.4 metres above the river, and for two centuries it remained the tallest navigable aqueduct in the world.

It exemplifies improvements in transport during the Industrial Revolution, which initiated the process of industrialization that spread to Europe.

The World Heritage site includes the canal, and its engineering features; remains associated with its construction and historical operation, such as engineer’s houses, wharves and lengthman’s cottages; and the immediate surroundings of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Horseshoe Falls and Chirk Aqueduct.

There is more information about the inscription of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal on the UNESCO website, including the statement of Outstanding Universal Value.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site (Wrexham County Borough Council)