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Chirk Tunnel, including the N and S Portals, and Chirk Basin.

A Grade II* Listed Building in Chirk, Wrexham

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Latitude: 52.9297 / 52°55'46"N

Longitude: -3.063 / 3°3'46"W

OS Eastings: 328639

OS Northings: 337451

OS Grid: SJ286374

Mapcode National: GBR 73.MDGQ

Mapcode Global: WH78C.XMLC

Entry Name: Chirk Tunnel, including the N and S Portals, and Chirk Basin.

Listing Date: 29 July 1998

Last Amended: 29 July 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20209

Building Class: Transport

Location: The Chirk tunnel continues the canal N from Chirk basin at the N end of the aqueduct, and is reached by a path from Castle Road.

County: Wrexham

Town: Wrexham

Community: Chirk (Y Waun)

Community: Chirk

Locality: Ceirog

Built-Up Area: Chirk

Traditional County: Denbighshire

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Designed by Thomas Telford in 1796 for the Ellesmere Canal Company, to carry the the Llangollen Branch canal from the Afon Ceiriog valley under the access road to Chirk Castle at the insistence of Richard Myddleton, the landowner and an important shareholder. The canal reached Chirk basin in 1801, where it widens to provide wharfage at the N end, from where a chain operated inclined plane was provided up to the road. This proved commercially successful. The canal was extended further to Llangollen at the suggestion of William Jessop to obtain headwater from the River Dee at Llantysilio.


The tunnel, No 23 in the series on the Llangollen Canal, is 421m (495 yards) long, built of brick to a semicircular section, and embraces the towpath, a recent innovation at the time. The tunnel tapers out to the S portal in the form of a parabolic arch of limestone voussoirs rising to a keystone, and set slightly proud of the high rubble-faced curved retaining wall. This wall rises to a flat string course at the base of the parapet. The cantilevered towpath has a handrail of timber on cast iron tapered supports, installed in 1822. The N portal is similar to that at the south, but the retaining wall is more sharply curved.

Reasons for Listing

Included as, together with the aqueduct and basin, forming an important monument of the canal era in Britain.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Whitewalls
    The house lies back from the road in its own grounds, with access off the road from Castle Road to Station Avenue.
  • II* Railway Viaduct over River Ceiriog
    The viaduct crosses the valley parallel to Chirk Aqueduct, 550m SW of the Church at the centre of the village.
  • II* Chirk Aqueduct (continued into England)
    The aqueduct straddles the Ceiriog Valley, approximately 55m SW of the parish church, and can be reached by a footpath from Castle Road. The aqueduct passes into England (Weston Rhyn) at its S end.
  • II* Chirk Aqueduct
    Weston Rhyn, Shropshire, LL14
  • II* Chirk Viaduct
    Weston Rhyn, Shropshire, LL14
  • II Bryn Coed
    The house stands in its own grounds at the E end of Castle Street, overlooking the valley to the rear.
  • II Town Reservoir
    The reservoir is in Reservoir Wood, S of Station Avenue, and E of the S extension of Llwyn-y-cil Road to the caravan park.
  • II Bryn Eglwys
    The house is the end of the terrace of brick faced buildings at the beginning of Castle Street, in the centre of Chirk.

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