The Canal and Whixall
The canal provides Whixall with perhaps it’s most interesting feature.
In the parish we have both the Llangollen Canal mainline and the Prees Arm. The mainline reaches the Pontcysylite aqueduct and Llangollen and is the most popular stretch of canal in the UK. The Prees Arm never reached Prees and ended at Quina Brook. It now ends at a big hole where the puddling clay for sealing the canal was dug, now known as Whixall Marina.
The Canal was originally the Whitchurch branch of Ellesmere canal then the Llangollen branch of Shropshire Union Canal
The mainline enters Whixall Parish at Platt Lane Bridge (43) and exits on the straight mile long stretch known as the “Quob” at the Welsh border on Whixall Moss.
The flow of water provides drinking water to Crewe and Nantwich from Horseshoe Falls to Hurleston Reservoir, where the Llangollen canal joins the main Shropshire union canal.
Our stretch of canal is popular with boaters because of it’s lift bridges. The heavy reinforced Morris’s Bridge near the old scrap yard is on the mainline. While the Prees arm boasts 2 lift bridges, Allman’s Bridge and Starks Bridge. To visit Whixall Marina to fill up with diesel entails lifting 4 bridges. It really is popular with boaters!
Moss drainage for peat cutting left the canal higher than land and the land is still sinking.
The decline of the canal was principally due to ex WW1 trucks helping to start the road transport industry and the railways as speed became more important.
The Prees Arm is now only open as far as Whixall Marina.
The remainder is now a linear nature reserve up to Waterloo Bridge.
The original plan was to link the Mersey at Chester to the Severn at Shrewsbury. The original plan was not followed and was never finished due to money problems caused by the war with Napoleon.
The canal ended at Grindley Brook wharf but still commercial even with railway competition until it was linked to the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1833