Brynich aqueduct

Brynich aqueduct

This structure is one of the largest canal aqueducts ever built in South Wales. Its four stone arches carry the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal across the river Usk to enable boats to reach Brecon, on the north side of the river.

In North and Mid Wales, canals cut across valleys and required numerous aqueducts, including the enormous Pont Cysyllte. In South Wales the canals largely went along the valleys, parallel to main rivers. The Monmouthshire & Brecon remained west of the Usk all the way from Newport to here.

Brynich aqueduct is part of the last section of the canal to be completed, in 1800. It’s thought that the structure was designed by Thomas Dadford, whose father, also named Thomas, was the canal’s engineer. The aqueduct is at right angles to the river, reducing its length to the minimum possible. This means that the canal, running parallel to the river, has to turn sharply on both approaches. A diagonal river crossing would have been more difficult and expensive to build and maintain.

Near the aqueduct you can see a redundant plug and windlass. These were used to drain this section of canal for maintenance.

Major repairs were carried out on the aqueduct in winter 1996-97. In 2018, Rachael Cochrane and Liam Davies were shortlisted for the Heritage Angel Awards Wales for their restoration work on the aqueduct.

With thanks to Phil Hughes, editor of The Mon and Brec Guide, published by Phil Hughes Management Co.

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