A bit further north of Chirk is another aqueduct, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which dates from 1805. It's the same canal, the Llangollen Canal, and it also was constructed by Thomas Telford. The aqueduct is larger than the Chirk Aqueduct – 1000 foot long and 120 feet high. If you'd like to cross the aqueduct, you can take one of the leisure boat trips; you also can rent narrowboats there. It's possible to walk over the aqueduct as well, there's also a footpath. On that side at least there's a handrail, on the other side is nothing! I find this pretty scary, and not really safe!
The canal that is passing Chirk in the west is the Llangollen Canal. Here you Chirk you find two interesting sights: An aqueduct over the river Ceiriog, and a tunnel directly afterwards. The aqueduct was constructed by Thomas Telford, a famous canal builder. It was open in 1801 and is only 70 foot high. Next to that aqueduct is a railway viaduct which was built some time later and was constructed by Henry Robertson.
At the northern end of the aqueduct is a passing place and afterwards directly a tunnel which is 421m long. A sign next to it shows that it takes about 12 minutes with the boat through the tunnel.
Also there's a path over the aqueduct and in the tunnel.
And if you'd like to rent a narrowboat and cross the aqueduct and tunnel by boat, you can rent one at the Chirk marina further north.
Chirk Castle was built by Edward I in 1310 to dominate the borderlands and is one of the few castles that we visited which is still intact. You can visit the rooms of the Myddelton family, interesting rooms with old furniture. In each room were flyers with information on the room. These state rooms are only open from noon, and you can take photos without flash. Besides the Myddelton family rooms, you also can visit a dungeon, and see other rooms in the east wing like the bow room or the library with its old books.
Then there are the gardens... It's a nice place for a stroll – or even longer walk, as it's so huge. Near the hawk house which was built in the mid of the 19th century you have nice view on the landscape, and there were many well smelling flowers around. And from the Hercules statue, you have a nice view on the castle.
It's a small street from Chirk to the castle and we already thought that we were on the wrong way. You will drive by a nice iron gate so you could think that it's close, but it's still quite some distance from there. The way back is a different street, which joins the other way at that iron gate.
Admission (gift aid admission for full property): 10,50 adults, 5,25 children. There's a special admission in case you only want to visit the gardens.
Chirk Castle is operated by the National Trust.
Well, I guess I should say, the owner's [Myddelton coat of arms]
I saw a few of them, a good one is above the entrance way to Chirk Castle.
What is interesting, is there is a myth about a "red Hand", and if you look, you will see it in the coat of arm's.
One story tells of a dispute which arose between two young lads in the family, this involved inheritance of the castle.
A further story tells that during a battle, one of the Myddeltons was dressed in a white tunic when he was badly injured. Not thinking, he put his blood covered hand on his tunic which then became this heraldic symbol???
There are more stories than these!
The other is the Wolve's and you will find many statue's of Wolve's around the Castle. This is because some early Myddelton ancestor's had the name of Flaidd (the wolf) and Blaidd Rhudd (bloody wolf). They even used to keep a pet wolf under the drawbridge.
We came to Chirck Castle by Car, this was easy as we just had to follow the sign's.
I did notice the Arriva 2/A Wrexham to Oswestry is listed for the Castle, but am not sure if it takes you to the Castle itself.
When we were quite close to the Castle, we noticed a car park down the bottom of the hill, and this was where we had to park.
So, you guessed it, To reach the Castle it is a short STEEP walk from the Visitor Centre.
You may huff & puff!
What is good for busy day's, is the one-way route in place, this is good because the road is narrow. When you reach the wrought iron gate's, check which way to go because of this.
Through out the Summer month's the Castle is open daily from 10 - 5pm
I believe it is closed throughout Winter, so please check the excellent website
I wanted to mainly see the Castle garden's, so this is where I spent most my time. I did go inside and have look, and would have liked to seen more, but time was against me.
I think you would need a good part of a whole day to enjoy fully the "whole" Castle!
ADMISSION IN 2012.....
Full castle...Adult: £9.00....Child: £4.50 ... Family: £22.50
Garden and tower only...Adult: £6.40...Child... £3.24Family: £16.20
National Trust Members are FREE
There is plenty to see here, so allow plenty of time.
Chirk Castle has been occupied virtually continuously as a castle and stately home for almost 700 years.
My main interest and what took me most time, was walking around and enjoying the lovely garden.
Lady Margaret Myddleton brought the gardens back to life after the Second World War - a time when they became overgrown.
There were many neatly trimmed hedge's that formed "garden" room's, each one with something different. In one large hedge, I found a garden seat hidden, maybe for the romantic's!
July had colour, and I wasn't at all disappointed with the garden.
More photo's in travelogue.
All we had to do to find Chirk Castle, was to follow the sign's from the Village, easy!
The route took us through some beautiful countryside to a very nice wrought iron Gate, so nice that I had to take a photo.
The magnificent baroque designed iron gates , bear the coat-of-arms of the Myddelton family of Chirk Castle.
The original gates were intended to be located at the end of the drive from Chirk Castle, but instead, in 1771, when the New Hall Lodge was built, the gates were moved alongside.
In 1888 the gates were moved for a third time to their present position at Llwyn y Cil and the pallisades on either side were restored to their former state.
The high viewpoint is where my husband went. There is a seat, and an excellent view of the Aqueduct.
This is where people with walking difficulties must go.
OK, you don't get to view the Boat's entirely coming out of the Tunnel, but you do have a great view.
Photo's are taken from top viewpoint
A short walk, less than 2miles!
We were on Castle road, so I found the Aqueduct sign and walked down the track to the Canal.
First I had a look at the tunnel area and the "Boat Jam", then turned left and headed across the Aqueduct.
The view's are fantastic from here, and on the otherside is the massive Train Viaduct running parallel to the Canal. The River Ceiriog flow's underneath, and the view's are of the Ceirog Valley.
The tow path goes to Chirk Bank, I turned left and from here I followed the road downhill to the Bridge Inn. After passing over the river bridge is the entrance to the old mill, this took me back Chirk, an uphill walk.
The Chirk Aqueduct is a 70-foot high and 710-foot long navigable aqueduct that carries what is now the Llangollen Canal across the Ceiriog Valley near Chirk, on the England-Wales border.
I wanted to see it close up, so down the Hill I walked and came out alongside the Narrow-boat's.
This was a larger area than the Canal as it was a Boat park. Boat's waited here to pass through the Tunnel, and other's were waiting to go along the Aqueduct.
The funny part, was the "BOAT TRAFFIC JAM!"
I learnt from this, that you don't want to be in a hurry if hiring one of the Narrow boat's.
From a "boater" I was told only so many were allowed through the Tunnel at a time, and then the other side were allowed to go, but this was not happening, getting so bad, there were nearly Boat accident's.
Eventually, after about 10 Boat's came through the Tunnel, they were able to move, and the traffic jam started to ease! Thank-goodness, as more and more Boat's were pouring into the area from crossing the Aqueduct!
This took up a lot of my time, fun to watch!
We had driven by Car to Chirk and wished to view the Aqueduct, but where to park the car!
We had noticed a car park further back, and after doing a tour of the block, we realized this is where we had to park the car and then walk.
Well, all was not lost, as situated in the Car park, was the nice sign showing all the significant places in the area that were worth seeing.
It is not a long walk to the Aqueduct viewing point, and it is flat, so don't be worried!
There is a view point from the top looking down to the aqueduct, or you can walk down the steep hill, which is what I did.
This is a 12thc. moated castle under reconstruction.Most of the castle was covered in scaffolding and fenced off as workmen went about their business.(Nice work.)
A small carpark and pleasant grounds to walk in. There is access onto some parts of the ruins by a spiral staircase. From here, you get a reasonable view of the pond and moat, as well as the rest of the castle.
The grounds are open all year and there was reported to be a souvenir shop and tearoom open from Easter. We saw no signs of these.I have also read that tours can be arranged but from what we saw, I wouldn't think it very safe to take the public onto a building site.
I was mildly disappointed, thinking there was going to be more to this than there was.
Supposedly a popular beauty spot, the old racecourse common set high above and to the west of Oswestry.
It was a hugely popular venue for horse racing up until 1850.Nowadays, you can still see hoof prints but only from horses being ridden for pleasure.
It's an easy mile and a half walk on a figure of eight course which you can't really make out from ground level.
The old grandstand has been re-fettled and is close to the car park.
Supposedly superb views from the race course, over Shropshire and Wales, with various landmarks depicted on maps in the grandstand but trees cover much of the views. Probably the best views are from near the carpark.
It was wonderfully peaceful up here and hard to believe we were only a mile or so from Oswestry.
If you are in the Chirk area you really should check out the spectacular aqueduct that spans the Ceiriog valley. And the nearby Pontcysyllte aqueduct just off the A5 near Llangollen (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Now over 200 years old and designed by Thomas Telford, the Scottish civil engineer so intrinsically linked with Shropshire.
Still in use today and making up part of the Llangollen canal it is an engineering masterpiece.
You are able to walk the towpath that runs alongside the canal and marvel at the aqueduct and the even taller viaduct that sits alongside and carries the trains from Wrexham to Shrewsbury.
Just before the aqueduct starts at the northern end there is a large basin where canal barges moore up while they wait to use the tunnel that cuts through the hillside for almost half a kilometre which you can also walk.
The obvious attraction in Chirk is the castle and it is a castle worth visiting. More of a huge fortified house really and if you check out my Chirk page it will give you more details about the history of the castle.
Now under the ownership of the National Trust there is an admission charge (in April 2009 it was almost £10 for adults) but there's no charge to park in the car park and wander around it.
There is also a cafe, shop, farm shop selling local produce and a small childrens play area. The views from the castle are wonderful looking out over the rolling Clwyd hills in the distance.
Worth a detour if you are travelling along the A5.