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  1. ITV Report

'Oldest chain bridge in the world' to re-open in Llangollen

Llangollen's historic chain bridge re-opens today allowing people to travel over it for the first time in more than 30 years.

Credit: ITV Wales News

Built in 1817, it's thought to be the oldest chain bridge in the world.

Llangollen Town and Llantysilio Community Councils bought the historic bridge for a £1 after it fell into disrepair and started a project to restore it.

The councils worked to raise funding for the bridge's repairs since 2007 and in 2013, The Heritage Lottery Fund pledged £350,000 towards its restoration.

The bridge was rebuilt for a third time in 1928 as the chain bridge that is visible today. Credit: Positif Group

It was originally built by local coal merchant, Exuperius Pickering to open up a cheap coal transport route across the River Dee.

The original bridge was built in 1817 by a local coal merchant. Credit: Positif Group

It was then rebuilt by Henry Robertson during the 1870s.

His son, Sir Henry Beyer Robertson then rebuilt the bridge visible today in 1928, reusing the old chain links as suspension cables.

Descendants of both Exuperius Pickering and Henry Robertson are expected to attend the official re-opening.

Credit: Geograph/Christine Johnstone

This has really been a labour of love for all involved and it's so exciting to see all that hard work finally come to fruition.

Communities in both Llangollen and Llantysilio have really come together to ensure that the bridge becomes an important transport link once more.

We can't wait for descendants of those who built the original bridges to mark the next chapter in the bridge's history with us.

– Samantha Jones, Chain Bridge Heritage Officer

The bridge will now re-establish the link between the Llangollen railway and the Canal, part of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage site.