A YEAR of celebrations will mark a decade since a historic location became a World Heritage Site.

The Canal and River Trust has organised event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal's designation.

A new photography competition, a specially-brewed beer, luminaire structure lighting, ‘Under the Arches’ celebration and a wide range of community and cultural events and workshops are due to take place.

Lynda Slater, Trevor Basin visitor centre manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “The World Heritage Status has made a world of difference to this spectacular structure and the 11 miles of Llangollen Canal which surround it.

"The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has gone from being a national treasure to a tourist destination of international significance."

In 2009, the 200-year-old aqueduct, built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, joined the elite club of 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which includes such iconic structures as Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

The trust says that visitor numbers have quadrupled over the decade, with 500,000 people viewing the ‘Stream in the Sky’ and the Trevor Basin Visitor Centre last year, providing a major boost for the local economy.

Visitors come from all over the world, with Australians and Japanese heading the international league table.

Signing the centre’s visitor book last year were tourists from 52 countries from faraway places such as Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as most European nations.

The trust is working with Wrexham, Denbighshire and Shropshire councils on the events.

Ms Slater added: “During the main summer season we get coach loads of tourists from dozens of different countries, mixing with thousands of British holiday makers, walkers, boaters and cyclists. A café boat was installed in 2017 and last year we opened new car parks to provide extra capacity during the peak summer months which has helped.

“The challenge for the future is how to offer people more on-site facilities which will mean they spend more time here, have a better experience and hopefully spend more money in the local economy. Working with Wrexham County Borough Council, landowners Solutia and a range of partners, we are currently part way through a strategic masterplan process to identify how to provide better visitor facilities and what they might look like.

“Guided by extensive community engagement, we are considering several ideas to bring new and extended attractions to Trevor Basin and the surrounding area, along with possible sources of funding.”

The Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular canals in the country with hire boaters.

The Canal and & River Trust is currently recruiting more people to join the team for the 2019 season.

It needs destination assistants to work in the free visitor centre; aqueduct, towpath and litter rangers; and volunteers to take part in the towpath taskforce.

For more information, email trevorvisitor.centre@crt.org.uk.