Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2009
Size of heritage: 105 ha
- Buffer zone: 4,145 ha

Longitude: -2,912°
Latitude: 52,970°


Situated in north-eastern Wales, the 18 kilometre long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a feat of civil engineering of the Industrial Revolution, completed in the early years of the 19th century. Covering a difficult geographical setting, the building of the canal required substantial, bold civil engineering solutions, especially as it was built without using locks. The aqueduct is a pioneering masterpiece of engineering and monumental metal architecture, conceived by the celebrated civil engineer Thomas Telford. The use of both cast and wrought iron in the aqueduct enabled the construction of arches that were light and d strong, producing an overall effect that is both monumental and elegant. The property is inscribed as a masterpiece of creative genius, and as a remarkable synthesis of expertise already acquired in Europe. It is also recognized as an innovative ensemble that inspired many projects all over the world.

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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, located in the United Kingdom, is a remarkable engineering marvel that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009. Situated in the Wrexham County Borough, County of Denbighshire, Borough of Oswestry, and County of Shropshire, this historic site showcases the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Industrial Revolution.


The construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal began in 1795 and was completed in 1805. It was designed by the renowned civil engineer Thomas Telford and the canal engineer William Jessop. The purpose of this ambitious project was to connect the coalfields of Denbighshire and the industrial heartlands of England, facilitating the transportation of goods and raw materials.

The aqueduct itself is a masterpiece of engineering, spanning 307 meters (1,007 feet) across the River Dee Valley. It stands at a height of 38 meters (126 feet) and consists of a cast iron trough supported by 18 stone piers. The construction of such a structure at the time was a testament to the innovative techniques employed by Telford and Jessop.

The canal, which runs for 18 kilometers (11 miles), was an essential part of the transportation network during the Industrial Revolution. It allowed for the efficient movement of goods, particularly coal, between the rural areas of Wales and the industrial centers of England. The canal's locks, bridges, and tunnels are all examples of the impressive engineering achievements of the time.

Current State

Today, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal continue to be a vital part of the region's heritage and a popular tourist attraction. The aqueduct, with its breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, attracts visitors from all over the world. It is possible to walk or boat across the aqueduct, providing a unique and thrilling experience.

The canal, although no longer used for commercial purposes, is still navigable and offers recreational opportunities for boaters and walkers. The towpath alongside the canal provides a scenic route for hikers and cyclists, allowing them to appreciate the beauty of the landscape and the historical significance of the site.

The site is well-maintained, with regular inspections and maintenance work carried out to ensure its preservation. Efforts are made to protect the aqueduct and canal from any potential threats, such as erosion or damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

Furthermore, the local communities surrounding the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal actively engage in promoting and preserving this UNESCO World Heritage site. They organize events, exhibitions, and educational programs to raise awareness about its historical importance and to celebrate its cultural significance.

In conclusion, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a remarkable testament to the engineering achievements of the Industrial Revolution. Its historical significance, combined with its stunning natural surroundings, makes it a must-visit destination for those interested in the rich heritage of the United Kingdom.