Brynich aqueduct

button-theme-canalBrynich aqueduct

brecon_brynich_aqueduct_canoe_1952This structure is one of the largest canal aqueducts ever built in South Wales. Its four stone arches carry the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal (later the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal) across the Usk to enable boats to reach Brecon, on the north side of the river. While the canal was derelict, the aqueduct was the venue for a publicity event in 1952. Theo Brown, Ian Wright and Morris Prosser rowed across the aqueduct in a canoe and boat to highlight the derelict canal’s neglect and potential (see photo, right).

In North and Mid Wales, canals cut across valleys and required numerous aqueducts, including the enormous Pontcysyllte. In South Wales the canals largely went along the valleys, parallel to main rivers. The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal remained west of the Usk and Afon Llwyd all the way from Pontymoile (near Pontypool) to here.

brecon_brynich_aqueduct_in_floodBrynich aqueduct was one of the last sections of the canal to be completed to take the canal into Brecon in 1801. The structure was designed by Thomas Dadford Junior and built by local contractors. 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.

The aqueduct has withstood the power of the river in flood on many occasions, as shown in the photo on the left (courtesy of the MBACT archive).

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, a scheduled ancient monument.

The navigable section of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is looked after by the charity Glandwr Cymru the Canal & River Trust in Wales.

With thanks to the archive of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust

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Canal & River Trust website – Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

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