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CHIRK TUNNEL, LLANGOLLEN CANAL; ELLESMERE CANAL; SHROPSHIRE UNION CANAL

Site Details



NPRN 34408

Map Reference SJ23NE

Grid Reference SJ2852137621

Unitary (Local) Authority Wrexham

Old County Denbighshire

Community Chirk

Type of Site CANAL TUNNEL

Broad Class TRANSPORT

Period Post Medieval

Site Description Chirk Tunnel is a 420m (459 yards) long brick-lined tunnel on the Llangollen Branch of the Ellesmere Canal or Shropshire Union Canal (NPRN: 405725). It lies west of Chirk village and at its southern end is Chirk Aqueduct (NPRN: 34406). The tunnel was designed for the Ellesmere Canal Company by the engineers William Jessop and Thomas Telford.

Construction on this section of canal (between Pontcysyllte and Chirk) began in 1794, and by June 1802 the canal had been opened through Chirk Tunnel and the (shorter) Whitehouse Tunnel (NPRN: 405796) to the southern end of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (NPRN: 34410). From here lime could be loaded from the Froncysyllte Limeworks for use in improving the Shropshire farmlands to the east.

Chirk Tunnel, together with the Whitehouse Tunnel are significant in being the first canal tunnels in Britain to incorporate a towpath.

RCAHMW has carried out a detailed study of the Llangollen Canal. All sites relating to the canal can be found through the Coflein Text Search, by entering Llangollen Canal under site name.

Stephen R Hughes, RCAHMW, 14 June 2007.

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