Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
Saturday 22 March 2008
This week Helen Mark visits The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, near Wrexham which could soon join the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China as a World Heritage Site.
Known as ‘The Stream that Runs in the Sky’, the 1,000 foot long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which carries the Llangollen canal above the River Dee on 19 cast iron spans at a height if 126 feet, is both the tallest and the longest aqueduct in the Great Britain.
In fact the whole 11 mile stretch of man-made waterway from the Horseshoe Falls west of Llangollen to a point just beyond a second aqueduct at nearby Chirk has now become the UK’s only 2008 nomination for World Heritage site status.
Built by William Jessop and Thomas Telford, this stretch of canal is considered to be a masterpiece of the canal age which set down the principles of civil engineering today. Helen takes in its architectural beauty and practical ingenuity as she crosses over in a canal boat and learns of the difference this prestigious status would make to local communities. Already the recent increase in tourism has led to the setting up of Cakes and Company, a social enterprise in the village of Froncysyllte (or Fron for short!)which is just entering its second year of trading. Now with the hope of World Heritage status, there is renewed optimism that other businesses will emerge in the area. This positive attitude is perhaps fuelled by the recent recording successes of the Fron Male Voice Choir, who delight us with two pieces sung in Welsh, especially recorded for the programme.
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