THE Shropshire gateway to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site (WHS) has been transformed following the upgrade of a nearby towpath.

In a joint-funded project headed by the official Friends of the WHS, the ‘Aqueducks’, 800 metres of towpath along the Llangollen Canal near the Gledrid Bridge has been transformed to improve access to the area through an all-weather surface.

A new wash wall and fence has also been installed as part of the upgrade, which is the latest phase in a programme of pathway improvements to open up the canal and WHS.

The completed path was jointly unveiled on Thursday by Cllr Trevor Davies and Aqueducks’ Jackie Allen, along with funding representatives from Northern Marches and British Waterways.

Jason Leach, senior regeneration manager for British Waterways, said the upgrade will improve access to this picturesque waterway for a broad spectrum of users.

“The project will open up the waterway for the benefit of local communities, in addition to forming a gateway for Shropshire to attract more visitors to this stunning waterway and its heritage-rich corridor,” he said.

“The inclusive towpath design means people with mobility restrictions will also be able to take greater advantage of this wonderful amenity.”

Jackie Allen, from the Aqueducks group, said she hoped the work would kickstart projects along the rest of the 11-mile WHS, which runs from Chirk Bank to Llantysilio.

“It is a vast improvement,” she said.

“As a community we asked for the towpaths to be tidied because it was collapsing into the canal. It was an awful mess.

“This means people, when they have completed the whole length, will be able to walk down the entire 11 miles, which is fantastic.”

If you are interested in getting involved with the Aqueducks contact Piers Warburton on 07920 810349 or visit the Aqueducks website: