Monday, 20 October 2014

Llangollen Canal Part 2 - Llangollen back to Whitchurch


We had another wander in Llangollen for a couple of hours before setting off on the return journey to Whitchurch.

We visited the church :  St Collen’s Church was founded by St Collen from whom the town derives it's name. St Collen was a monk who lived sometime in the late 6th Century.


The standout feature is the carved oak ceiling which dates from the 15th Century.

Also in the church is a memorial to the famous Ladies of Llangollen, Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby -two aristocratic ladies from Ireland who eloped together to Wales in 1778 and lived happily ever after in a cottage ornée (an ornamental cottage), surrounded by gardens full of Gothic follies.[for more see]

Someone had kindly put flags on the bridge  for us.  The bridge was built in about 1345 by John Trevor, became Bishop of St Asaph. It was extended to cross the railway in the 1860s and widened in the early 1960s.

We had a last look at the Llangollen Wharf...

...where  horse drawn boat trips along the canal started in 1884 and continue to this day.

As on the journey to Llangollen, we found this part of the canal to be  quite narrow.. some stretches a runner (me in this case) goes ahead to check if a boat is approaching in the opposite direction. This time I just managed to stop a lone boater who turned out to be an artist from Stoke on Trent, Michelle Martin. She used to work in the Potteries but now travels the country on a boat,  painting. See for more.

After traveling through the Vale of Llangollen...

... we were soon back at the basin at Trevor - time for a quick pint at the Thomas Telford Inn.

I went for a wander down to the River Dee under the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to try to capture the size and magnitude of the structure.

Then it was time for us to make our way back across the 'Stream in the Sky'.

As a postscript the crossing - how do you pronounce Pontcysyllte ?

Perason's canal Guide says : Pont-ker-sulth-tee' : Pont – kuh – suth – te’  Pont-kersulty

I could keep going but you get the idea.

In the afternoon we crossed the Chirk Aqueduct

and then decided to call it a day just upstream of New Marston Locks, near to where we stopped on Sunday evening.

Sue found a friend:

It was another night for the camera at sunset:


One of the locals had a drink with us during breakfast.

Today we made the relatively short trip to Ellesmere - this is typical of the many bridges we passed on the way.

Ellesmere is a small market town which has managed to keep a good number of local high street traders despite Tesco appearing on its doorstep.  The Llangollen Canal passes to the south side of Ellesmere but  a short arm links the canal to a basin in the town. When we arrived, the branch was closed for mooring as a  festival was being held over the weekend and boats for the event were moored up there.

Ellesmere has some interesting architecture using the local red brick:

At the basin is the old Shropshire Union Warehouse...

... looking as if it could do with some TLC


Sue's healthy breakfast ( but which Sue?)

The boat moored in front of us was owned by a couple who have lived on the canals for 10 years - they have still kept their interest in gardening alive!

We saw them again later in the day:

Back to Ellesmere and as we were not in a rush, we had another wander into the town.

Unfortunately it was too early in the morning for one building that caught the eye to be open - The White Hart - early seventeenth century, Grade II listed

The map below shows where the mere in Ellesmere comes from

The town is located by the side of 'The Mere', one of the largest natural meres in England outside the Lake District and one of nine glacial meres in the area. ('glacial' means that the depression occupied by the mere was the location of a block of ice that persisted at the end of the last Ice Age). These meres are different from those in the Lake District in that they do not have a flow of water into them to maintain the level.

The Mere can be seen from the church:

St Mary's Church is of Norman origin but largely rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott  in 1849.

In the churchyard was in ' Insect Hotel'

Leaving Ellesmere we stopped by Canal and River Trust's (CART) yard.

This includes an old stone dry dock - still in use today.

Past Ellesmere, once we had passed through the Ellesmere Tunnel..

..some of the other mere's can be seen close to the canal - Blake Mere.

Next highlight was Prees Junction where we stopped on our first night.

our old friend Baldric, who we had seen on a regular basis all week, went past us as we stopped for lunch.

We carried on in the afternoon past the Whitchurch boatyard and the short Whitchurch Branch, negotiating another Lift Bridge...

.. before finding a mooring just upstream of the Grindley Brook flight of locks.

A very good meal at the Horse and Jockey rounded off the week very nicely.


Saturday morning saw us make the short journey back to the Whitchurch boatyard. Andy made sure the bow was clean.

Sue and I stopped off at Much Wenlock for an hour on the way home. Much Wenlock is a  medieval town, and is the birthplace of Dr William Penny Brookes, the inspiration for the modern Olympic Movement and founder of the Wenlock Olympian Society. ( In recognition, the 2012 London Olympic Games named one of their mascots Wenlock.)

The town is full of  Medieval, Georgian and Victorian buildings - the Guildhall is a three-bayed free standing courtroom erected in 1540. The Court Room and Council Chamber are on the first floor and the ground level was originally the Corn Market


Holy Trinity Church - The first church on this site was Anglo Saxon built around AD. 680. The present nave dates from 1150 and was built by Cluniac monks of the nearby Wenlock Priory.

The old Police Station was built in Blue bricks in 1864.

We didn't visit The Priory - perhaps next time!

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