Wales

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct canal boat operator Peter Jones retires

Peter Jones
Image caption Peter Jones said plans to redevelop the basin didn't have specific provision for a trip boat

A canal boat operator is selling up and retiring after ferrying thousands of passengers over Wrexham's towering Pontcysyllte Aqueduct for 20 years.

Peter Jones, 83, was working at Trevor Basin on Llangollen Canal before it became a world heritage site in 2009.

He said plans to redevelop the basin have been a factor in his decision, and his lease ends in March.

The Canal & River Trust wished him a "happy retirement" and said hire boats will continue to run over the aqueduct.

"We could've carried on," said Mr Jones, known as Jones the Boat.

"But it was becoming clear there was a masterplan for this area and so the decision was made we would relinquish the lease and the business would come to an end.

"The masterplan didn't have specific provision for a trip boat, my lease was coming to an end next March and there didn't seem much prospect for me there."

Image copyright Adrian Pingstone
Image caption A cast iron trough on top of 18 stone piers carries the canal 38m (126ft) above the River Dee
Image caption The aqueduct was completed in 1805

The trust, which looks after 2,000 miles (3,219km) of waterways, launched a masterplan for the area around the aqueduct three years ago, including proposals for a visitor centre and improved infrastructure for commercial boats and private boaters.

The plan is designed to ensure the area around the world heritage site can accommodate growing numbers of visitors.

Trust destination supervisor Lynda Slater said: "We thank Peter for his two decades of service and wish him a really happy retirement, but there will still be hire boats operating over the aqueduct with trips so things will still stay the same in that sense for visitors."

Image caption Trust destination supervisor Lynda Slater thanked Mr Jones for his work over the years

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