Hire a canal boat for a Llangollen Canal narrow boat holiday
Hire A Canal Boat are pleased to offer canal boat holidays along the Llangollen Canal – a waterway with outstanding natural beauty and one of the finest narrowboating holidays that you and your family and friends can take. Before taking the plunge and hiring a narrow boat from us why don't you take a little time out to get an idea about what you might experience on canal boat holiday on the Llangollen Canal.
The history of the Llangollen Canal
This amazing waterway traverses a total of 46 miles (74 km) and is understandably one of the most popular waterways for narrow boat holidays in Britain and draws boaters, walkers and cyclists from all over the world. With 21 locks plus lift bridges (two on the Prees Arm alone) the canal holiday boater is enveloped into a waterway that boasts a superb variety of different scenery.
At one end, the low lying farmland of the Cheshire Plain then transforms into the Shropshire 'Lake District' before meeting the Welsh Mountains at its other extreme. Make no mistake, this is a wonderful canal with its attractive towpath together with numerous long distance footpaths for serious walkers in close proximity. Fishing is very popular and the naturalists amongst you are able to enjoy the plant and animal life along the full length of this remarkable waterway. There are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the glorious mix, particularly those at Whixall Moss and along the fascinating Prees Arm. However, it is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct that with absolute justification that demands much of the limelight which modern boaters and other visitors so readily give.
The history of the Llangollen Canal is not simple. The original proposal was to provide a commercial link between Shrewsbury /River Severn and Netherpool(now Ellesmere Port)/River Mersey and including the Roman city of Chester/River Dee along the way. However, as history shows, not all went according to plan.
Construction, under the guidance of famous engineers, Thomas Telford and William Jessop, began in 1793. The Ellesmere Canal Company began two sections. The Wirral Canal from Ellesmere Port to Chester (now in fact part of the Shropshire Union Canal mainline) and the line from Frankton to Llanymynech (now part of the Montgomery Canal). Three years on, both sections opened and in keeping with the nationwide canal boom, the Ellesmere Canal Company continued to expand.
In 1797, a new section from Frankton to Whitchurch was started. This proved to be a massive challenge for the company and the entrepreneurs faced the crossing of Whixall Moss, numerous cuttings and embankments and tunnel construction at Ellesmere. Construction also proceeded westwards from Frankton, the net result being two great aqueducts at Chirk and Pontcysyllte. However, the vision of the Severn and Dee links never materialised. The only connection with the main network was made in 1805 at Hurleston onto the aforementioned Shropshire Union mainline. Within a few years, the canal from Pontcysyllte was extended westwards to Llangollen and Llantisilio and the Ellesmere Canal system was all but completed.
The Ellesmere Canal was profitable and in 1804, the company tried to take over the section from Hurleston to Chester though the Chester Canal Company delayed the inevitable for 9 years. The acquisition meant two sections of the Ellesmere Canal system were joined and later the Ellesmere and Chester Canal Company took over the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal. In 1845, this was, in turn amalgamated into the Shropshire Union Railway & Canal Company. Amidst all the name changes, amalgamations and take-overs, the Llangollen Canal soon came to be owned by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS).
Of course, the development of the railways put the canals into decline and many were derelict by the end of World War Two. The infamous LMS Act of Parliament in 1944 allowed the railway company to legally abandon around 175 miles of waterway leaving only the 46 miles of canal from Hurleston to Llantisilio. This section was saved because it acts to this day, as a water channel feeding the Hurleston Reservoir which in turn provides fresh water to Crewe and the expansive Cheshire Plain.
Pleasure boating emerged on the waterway and new hire companies sprung up across the area to promote the Llangollen Canal as a premier waterway destination. The town of Llangollen has been popular with tourists since the 18th century and each July hosts the world famous International Eisteddfod.
If you want to experience one of the finest canals that Britain has to offer then take your narrow boat holiday along the Llangollen Canal – check here for the availability of out narrow boat and barge hire.