Tag Archives: Llangollen canal

Sailing on a cloud

Aqueduct

Broadchurch star Matthew Gravelle was at the centre of the biggest TV whodunnit since ‘who shot JR?’. Last summer, the Welsh actor took his wife, Hinterland star Mali Harries, and kids on an Anglo Welsh canal boat holiday, setting off from our Trevor base in North Wales on a true-life family adventure. Here’s his narrowboat holiday review, published in Wales View 2015:

We’re heading for the Llangollen Canal, built as part of a network of waterways to connect the coalfields and limestone quarries of Denbighshire to the Midlands.

Its most notable feature is Thomas Telford’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the highest and longest in Britain, 984 feet (300m) in length and soaring 98 feet (40 m) above the River Dee.

We arrive at Trevor Basin to collect our boat, a traditional barge called Brenig, which appears to be painted in British Racing Green (odd, since the speed limit is 4 mph (6.4kph).

The children scramble on and explore, while I get an hour of instruction from the nice man from Anglo Welsh on how to skipper the thing. By the time we push off from our mooring, I know the theory, but actually steering this immense beast – it’s got an old-fashioned tiller, rather than a wheel – takes some getting used to.

Crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the easy bit. Telford thoughtfully built it in an arrow-straight line, and the cast iron walls are only just wide enough to pass through, so steering isn’t an issue. Instead I can take in the exhilarating views as we float serenely in mid-air.

I was enjoying the ride so much I didn’t really think about how it was coming to an end. There are two barges coming in the opposite direction and I seem to have forgotten everything I learnt about steering. I bump into a poor unsuspecting barge owner, causing him to throw his supper into his lap. Oops. Sorry.

Back at our mooring, we feast on Llandegla smoked trout, with broad beans and new potatoes from my dad’s garden. After supper we do old-fashioned family stuff – play cards, draw pictures.

As night falls, the children settle into their cabin and enjoy the best night’s sleep of the trip. It’s a really cosy and comfortable place to sleep, like a stretched caravan, except better insulated, with its own wood-burner.

A new day dawns and this driving lark seems much easier today. It gives us the opportunity to relax and spot nooks and corners that you don’t see from any road.

“It’s like sailing on a cloud,” observes Ela.

 

Anglo Welsh helps Julia Bradbury explore the Wonder of Britain

The Wonder of BritainJulia Bradbury presents the new prime time ITV series ‘The Wonder of Britain’, beginning Tuesday 6 January.

The five-part series begins with a look at Britain’s beautiful buildings and in the second instalment, which focuses on our industrial story, Julia will be seen cruising along the Llangollen Canal aboard an Anglo Welsh boat.

Rob Lawrence, Managing Director of Anglo Welsh, explains: “We were delighted to be involved in Julia’s exciting new television series which looks at different aspects of what makes Britain so great.

“She took our aptly named Bond Class boat ‘Julia’ across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and amazed us all with her depth of knowledge of the structure and its history.”

The programme airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm, starting on the 6 January.

Celebrate Christmas on the canals

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Britain’s canals can offer a great antidote to the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Five of our bases offer winter cruising canal boat hire, giving narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to enjoy cosy evenings afloat, visit waterside pubs with roaring log fires, and wake-up to frosty towpaths and crisp clean air.

Whether it’s a snug boat for two or a family break for six, celebrating Christmas or New Year afloat offers a great getaway. It’s free to moor almost anywhere on the network, so a narrowboat could provide the perfect base to enjoy new year celebrations in waterside towns and cities like Bath, Birmingham, Warwick and Stratford upon Avon.

All our boats have central heating, hot water, televisions and DVD players. Some also have multi-fuel stoves. So, whatever the weather, it’s always nice and cosy on board.

Our prices over Christmas and New Year start at start at £605 for a short break (three or four nights) on a boat for four, weekly hire from £840.

Here’s a list of our bases offering winter canal boat holidays:

Travel to Bath along the Kennet & Avon Canal…our base in the historic town of Bradford on Avon offers the chance to cruise to the World Heritage Status City of Bath and back. Cosy country pubs to enjoy along the way include the George Inn at Bathampton, once a 12th-century monastery, and the Cross Guns at Avoncliffe, with panoramic views of the foothills of the Cotswolds.

Take a lock free journey to Birmingham…Birmingham is just a five-hour cruise away from our base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal – with no locks to negotiate. City centre moorings are available at Gas Street Basin, close to the bars, restaurants, shops and museums at Brindley Place and the Mailbox and Bullring shopping centres.

Navigate ‘The Stream in the Sky’…the awesome 300-metre long World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, carries the Llangollen Canal 40 metres above the rushing waters of the River Dee. From our base at Trevor, next to the aqueduct, the village of Llangollen is a two-hour cruise to the west and to the east, Ellesmere is a seven-hour journey through the beautiful Vale of Llangollen.

Explore the Potteries in Staffordshire…our base at Great Haywood, at the junction of the Staffs & Worcs and Trent & Mersey canals in Staffordshire, offers a variety of routes. On a week’s cruise canal boat holiday-makers can head up the Trent & Mersey Canal to the Caldon Canal, and travel through the beautiful Churnet Valley. Those on a short break can head to the town of Fazeley, via the pretty canal village of Fradley on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Moor up in Stratford upon Avon…it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise to Stratford upon Avon from our base at Wootton Wawen, near Henley in Arden in Warwickshire. Boaters can moor up in Stratford canal basin, a stone’s throw from the Swan Theatre and the town’s shops, restaurants and museums.

We’re on Coast & Country tonight!

AqueductPresenter Carl Edwards takes a trip across ‘the stream in the sky’ on board an Anglo Welsh boat, in this evening’s ‘Coast & Country’.

Testing his head for heights, Carl is driven over the World Famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal.

The programme follows Carl as he saunters along the canals of Wales from the south to the north of the country.

This week he’s reached the Llangollen Canal where his day begins in a much calmer fashion as he’s treated to a horse drawn boat trip down to the Horseshoe Falls.

Taff the horse, from the Llangollen Horse Drawn Boat Centre, stepped up to pull Carl on the 45-minute boat trip that has been running since 1884 and is now thought to be one of the only four working horse drawn boats in the UK.

In the afternoon he joined Anglo Welsh to cross ‘the stream in the sky’ and said: “It honestly felt as if we were going on a theme park ride. I couldn’t look down for the first few seconds. But once I knew we were safe, it was just a stunning location and a beautiful view”.

Programme director Helen Hyde added: “It was quite a challenge to film the Aqueduct in particular. Something of that size and majesty is always difficult to translate onto the TV screen. I hope we’ve done it justice”.

Catch the programme tonight – Friday August 22nd at 8pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

Hire a canal boat for the day

Ponycysyllte Aqueduct

Hiring a canal boat for the day offers a fantastic day out and is a great way to see what canal boat holidays are like.

Anglo Welsh offers day boat hire at six of its bases, from less than £10 per person. Full tuition is included so if you’re new to canal boating, you can get the hang of steering, mooring-up, turning and working the locks.

Day boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery and a kettle so your boating party can enjoy a picnic afloat or head for a waterside pub. Most day boats also have a toilet, cooker and fridge.

Here are some day boat hire trip ideas and prices for 2014:

Tunnel through rural Worcestershire from Tardebigge on the Worcs & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, we suggest you cruise north to Kings Norton Junction.
It’s a pretty rural route with historic pubs along the way, including the family-friendly ‘Hopwood House’ at Alvechurch. There are no locks but there are three short tunnels to pass through.
***Day boat hire from Tardebigge starts at £99 for up to 10 people

Travel across the ‘Stream in the Sky’ – from our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it’s just 20 minutes by boat to the awesome Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Standing at over 38 metres high and 305 metres long, the Pontcysyllte Aquedcut (AKA ‘The Stream in the Sky’) offers a fantastic waterway adventure. With not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure the stunning views of the Dee Valley below, canal boaters literally feel like they are floating above the earth!
***Day boat hire from Trevor starts at £110 for up to 10 people

Explore rural Warwickshire from our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, you can choose between an easy day cruising to Wilmcote and back (two and a half hours each way), visiting The Masons Arms and Mary Arden’s Farm, where Shakespeare’s mother grew up.  country pub (three and a half hours each way).
***Day boat hire from Wootton Wawen starts at £99 for up to 10 people

Take a cruise in Bath – our base at Sydney Wharf in the World Heritage City of Bath offers the chance to see one’s of Britain’s most beautiful cities from the water.  Moor up in the City Centre close to the Pulteney Bridge to admire the architecture or head east along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to Bathampton and enjoy lunch at the historic ‘George Inn’, once a 12th century monastery.
***Day boat hire from Bath starts at £120 for up to 10 people

Staffordshire delights - from Great Haywood on the Staffs & Worcs Canal near Stafford, the recommended day boat cruise is a six-hour journey to the historic market town of Rugeley and back through several locks.  Along the way, enjoy a picnic in the grounds of Lord Lichfield’s beautiful working estate at Shugborough Hall, visit a pub at Rugeley or stop off at the delightful Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge.
***Day boat hire from Great Haywood starts at £99 for up to 10 people

Saunter along ‘The Shroppie’ – from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union near Crewe, we recommend you cruise south past Barbridge and Nantwich to Baddington Bridge.
With no locks to negotiate and plenty of pubs en route, it’s a delightful way to spend the day afloat.
***Day boat hire from Bunbury starts at £99 for up to 10 people

Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways

Canal scenery

The list of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’ was compiled half a century ago by Robert Aickman, co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association and published in his book Know Your Waterways.

The scale of these extraordinary structures – which built by the engineering superstars of their day – still amazes visitors today.

We’ve revisited the list and added details of our nearest canal boat hire bases so you can plan a visit to one or more of them on your next canal boat holiday:

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct…carrying the Llangollen Canal 38 metres (126ft) high above the River Dee, the awesome World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the highest and longest in Britain.  It was built between 1795 and 1805, uses 18 magnificent piers made of local stone and a 307-metre (1007ft) long trough for the canal to run through.With not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure the views of the breath-taking Dee Valley below, narrowboat holiday-makers literally feel like they are floating above the earth!***Our nearest base is just a 20-minute cruise away at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in Wrexham.The Anderton Boat Lift…also known as ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’ this extraordinary structure raises boats 15 metres (50ft) from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal.  Designed by Edwin Clark and opened in 1875, it consists of two caissons, each large enough to take a barge or pair of narrowboats.Sadly, in 1983 problems with the mechanism caused the lift to close but it reopened in 2002, following a restoration programme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.***Our nearest base is a nine-hour cruise away at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire.The Caen Hill Flight…with 16 of its 29 locks falling in a straight line, the Caen Hill flight of locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Devizes in Wiltshire is visually the most impressive in the country.

The locks were the final link in the Kennet & Avon Canal’s construction, opening in 1810.  By 1950 they had become derelict but after a major restoration effort, they were reopened HM The Queen in 1990.

***Our nearest base is a seven-hour cruise away on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire.

The Burnley Embankment…also known as the Straight Mile, the Burnley embankment on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal stretches almost a mile long and is up to 60 feet high in places.

This impressive structure was designed by Robert Whitworth of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Company and built between 1795 and 1801.  It carries the canal above Burnley and meant that the engineers did not have to build two sets of locks to cross the Calder Valley.

***Narrowboat holiday-makers can travel to Burnley as part of the Pennine Circuit which takes three weeks from our Great Haywood base.

The Bingley Five-Rise Locks…completed in 1774, this spectacular staircase of locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal 17 miles from Leeds, raises (or lowers) boats 18 metres (60ft) in five cavernous chambers.  The locks open directly from one to another, with the top gate of one forming the bottom gate of the next.

***Canal boat holiday-makers can travel through Bingley as part of the Pennine Circuit which takes three weeks from our Great Haywood base.

The Standedge Tunnel…at over three miles long tunnelling beneath the Pennines, this incredible feat of 18 and 19th century engineering is the longest, highest and deepest tunnel on the canal system.  Cutting through solid rock, it took the navvies 16 years to build, opening in 1811.

Unfortunately, the Huddersfield Canal became un-navigable in 1948 but after a long restoration programme, both the canal and tunnel were reopened in 2001.  Today’s boaters pass through the tunnel with a Canal & River Trust pilot, giving a vivid personal commentary.  There is also a trip boat operating from the Marsden end.

***Our base at Bunbury is a week’s cruise away from Marsden or Diggle.

Barton Swing Aqueduct…originally built in 1761 by James Brindley to take the Bridgewater Canal across the River Irwell, the Barton Aqueduct was considered a marvel at the time of its opening.

But when the Manchester Ship Canal company decided to use the course of the Irwell at Barton as part of its navigation channel, Brindley’s Aqueduct was replaced by the Barton Swing Aqueduct in 1893.  The 1,450 tonne, 100-metre long aqueduct swings open, full of water, to allow the passage of ships along the Manchester Ship Canal.

***Our base at Bunbury is a three or four day cruise away from the Barton Swing Aqueduct.

 

 

OUR FAVOURITE DESTINATIONS THIS EASTER

Anglo Welsh narrow boat holiday

Easter is a great time of year to take to the water to enjoy the fresh spring air, trees coming into leaf and spring flowers on the towpath.

The whole family can set off on an outdoor adventure together.  Bikes can be stored on the roof of the boat and dogs are welcome aboard most of our boats.

Many canalside attractions will be hosting special Easter events, so why not pack up and ship out for some Easter holiday fun afloat.

Here are our top 10 destinations this Easter.  Our prices start at £595 for a short break and £855 for a week on a boat for four.

*See the baby Giant Anteater born at Chester Zoo…Medieval Chester is just seven hours from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Famous for its medieval architecture and city walls, Chester is also home to an award-winning zoo with over 8,000 animals to see, including a rare baby Giant Anteater born in January.  He or she (the tiny youngster’s gender is not yet known) will still be clinging to his mother’s back at Easter so make a date to visit the Zoo and find out how the family is getting on.

*Join the Easter Egg Hunt at Rockingham Castle…although not waterside, this fascinating castle 10 miles outside Market Harborough, offers a great family day out.

Market Harborough is a seven-hour from our base at North Kilworth on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal.  So once moored up in Market Harborough basin, take a taxi to Rockingham Castle to join in the Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday or Monday.

Take a tour of the castle, which has been continuously occupied by the same family for almost 1000 years.  Check out the magnificent Great Hall, built on the instruction of William the Conqueror in 1086, and complete the Rockingham Eye Spy.  See the vast 400 year old ‘Elephant Hedge’, part of the Castle’s 18 acres of gardens and visit the Castle Gallery, tea rooms and gift shop.

*Visit the home of Cadbury’s Chocolate…Travel lock-free to Birmingham in just five hours from our Tardebigge base, stopping off along the way to sample the delights of Cadbury World.

Find out how chocolate is made, the history of Cadbury confectionery, visit the World’s biggest Cadbury Shop and the Cadbury Café and enjoy a host of special events celebrating our most ‘chocolatey’ time of year!

*Climb aboard the SS Great Britain…Bristol’s Floating Harbour, home of Brunel’s masterpiece the SS Great Britain, is just an eight hour cruise from our base at Sydney Wharf in Bath.

Now acclaimed as one of the UK’s finest visitor attractions, plan a visit the world’s first great ocean liner and find out how the SS Great Britain changed the world.

*Travel across the Stream in the Sky…Just 20 minutes cruise from our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, stands the awesome 38 metres high and 305 metres long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  Also known as The Stream in the Sky, this incredible feat of engineering and offers the canal boat ride of your life!

And the pretty town of Llangollen is just a two hour cruise away, where special Easter events will be running at the Llangollen Steam Railway.

*Visit the Roman Baths…Bath, famous for thousands of years for its warm mineral-rich waters, is a seven-hour cruise along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal from our base at Bradford on Avon.

The beautifully preserved Roman Baths is a place for the whole family to enjoy.  Visitors can see the remains of the ancient Roman temple and bathing complex based around Britain’s only natural hot spring.  There’s a special audio tour for kids and Roman costumed characters about every afternoon.

*See the witch in a bottle at the Pitt Rivers…Oxford City Centre, home to the extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum, is just three hours away from our River Thames base at Eynsham, near Witney.

The Museum, which has been described as a ‘Noah’s Ark of all the Earth’s artefacts’, displays thousands of handmade objects from a lost cultures across the globe.  Look out for a three-storey high totem pole, a magnificent Tahitian mourner’s costume collected during Captain Cook’s Second Voyage in 1773-74, a case of children’s toys, including a coconut-husk spirit ship for a Siamese child, and the firmly sealed witch in a bottle.

*Walk the battlements at Warwick Castle…said to be Britain’s greatest medieval experience, Warwick Castle is a seven hour cruise from our base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire.

The castle, which is on a bend of the River Avon, was developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068.  Explore its grand interiors and 64 acres of rolling landscaped gardens, climb its impressive towers and ramparts, watch the ‘Flight of the Eagles’ and ‘Mighty Trebuchet’ firing displays and visit some of the castle’s special attractions, including terrifying Castle Dungeon.

*Follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps…Stratford upon Avon is just a six hour cruise from our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, near Henley in Arden in Warwickshire.

Moor up in centrally located moorings on the River Avon and use your canal boat as a base to explore the fascinating historic town of Stratford.  There are five houses to visit with Shakespearian connections, including his Birthplace, the house of his wife (Anne Hathaway) and the childhood home of his mother, Mary Arden.

*Explore the rock-carved houses at Kinver Edge…from our base on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal Great Haywood, Kinver Edge near Stourbridge can be reached on a short break.

Cared for by The National Trust, Kinver’s famous Holy Austin Rock Houses which were inhabited until the 1950’s, give an atmospheric glimpse into a bygone age.  And the woodland sandstone ridge out which the houses are built, offers dramatic views across surrounding counties.