New trail commemorating Thomas Telford launched

A new trail that incorporates key landmarks in Shropshire and beyond that can be attributed to Thomas Telford has been unveiled.

Richard Partington Managing Director, Telford & Wrekin Council (left), Bernie Jones, Chairman, Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust (centre) and John Freeman, Vice-Chairman Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust at the launch of the Thomas Telford Trail
Richard Partington Managing Director, Telford & Wrekin Council (left), Bernie Jones, Chairman, Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust (centre) and John Freeman, Vice-Chairman Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust at the launch of the Thomas Telford Trail

The Thomas Telford Trail highlights 24 well and lesser known bridges, roads, canals and buildings that Telford was involved in during his time as the county’s engineer.

It is the brainchild of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust (SNCT), a charity that aims to protect, conserve and improve the route of the canals that Thomas Telford established during this time in Shropshire in the late 1700 to 1800s.

The trail is the basis of a travelling exhibition that includes a giant information board detailing the history and Thomas Telford’s links with each location, supported by leaflets that will allow people to take the journey around the county and beyond for themselves.

It features 13 landmarks in the borough of Telford and Wrekin including Wappenshall Junction that is home to the SNCT, Hadley Park Locks, and St Leonard’s Church in Malinslee, which was the last of three churches Thomas Telford built in the area.

There are also a further 11 locations including Shrewsbury Prison, Bridgnorth Bridge, Montford Bridge and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct that the engineer was involved in.

Telford and Wrekin Council has largely funded the leaflet as part of the Telford@50 celebrations and its Managing Director Richard Partington officially launched the exhibition at Southwater Library, Telford, today (Wednesday Sept 5).

SNCT Chairman, Bernie Jones, said: “The Thomas Telford Trail is a great way to highlight some of the incredible achievements of the man who is largely responsible for the way our county is today.

“To be able to do this in Telford’s 50th anniversary year pays tribute to his accomplishments but also sheds some light on some of his lesser known projects. He was a remarkable engineer and it is testament to his skill that many of his structures and buildings are still in operation today.

“We hope the exhibition will be informative and interesting and help people learn more about the man whose name is synonymous with the town he gave his name too.”

Councillor Rae Evans, Cabinet Member for People Services, Visitor Economy & Partnerships said: “The Thomas Telford Trail project funded by the Council is another fabulous legacy of Telford’s 50th anniversary and we would like to thank Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust (SNCT) for their hard work in making it happen.

“We hope many people will want to use this trail to discover the beautiful landscapes in and around our borough and its rich industrial history – and to understand the influence Thomas Telford had here.

“I am sure the trail will soon become an attraction point for residents as well as for visitors to our borough.”