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Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Volunteers spring clean canal
Llangollen canal
The canal was one of the first to use cast iron troughs
One of north Wales' top tourist attractions has been given a spring clean in time for thousands of summer visitors.

Llangollen canal, which is nearly 200 years old, was spruced up by local volunteers and schoolchildren on Monday.

The canal is one the most popular waterways in the UK and the scenery varies from isolated sheep pastures to the mountains of Snowdonia.

The seasonal clean-up has been organised by British Waterways - a public corporation responsible for a 2,000 mile canal and river network throughout Wales, England and Scotland.

Howard Griffiths, waterways supervisor at Llangollen, said the canal is popular with tourists and needs to be kept in good condition.

The actual Llangollen canal gets lots of positive feedback
Howard Griffiths British Waterways

"We have about 16,000 visitors a year here," he said.

"British Waterways decided to fit in with other companies and volunteers and do a general spring clean.

"People are painting, litter-picking and servicing the towpaths.

"Dinas Bran school in Llangollen are coming on board and they're coming down on Tuesday to do a litter pick."

The Llangollen canal is part of the Shropshire Union canal, it runs from Nantwich to Llangollen and stretches 47 miles.

Llangollen canal
Thousands of people use the historic Llangollen canal

The aqueducts at Chirk and Pontcysyllte are steeped in history and were built by the engineers Thomas Telford and William Jessup.

They were among the first to use cast iron troughs to contain the canal.

Mr Griffiths, who has worked on the canal for 25 years, said the stretch of water in Denbighshire is very popular.

"The actual Llangollen canal gets lots of positive feedback," he said.

"It is a very busy canal and people appreciate that it is one of the main canal's for beginners."

A spokeswoman for British Waterways said the cost of cleaning the canal is minimal as they have relied heavily on the help of volunteers.

Regional conservation manager David Blackburn said the local community are invaluable when it comes to keeping the canals tidy.

"Without the backing of community members from all walks of life, both young and old, we would face an uphill struggle to maintain the growing miles of canal being restored annually," he said.

Canal link a step nearer
05 Apr 03  |  Wales
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03 Apr 03  |  England
4.5m grant for disused canal
02 Apr 03  |  England
Historic canal survey
31 Mar 03  |  England

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