Once upon a time the only way to get across to Anglesey from the mainland was by ferry. Then along came Thomas Telford, who worked his engineering magic to build a magnificent suspension bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world at that time with its two towers and 16 giant chains. The first chain was hauled into position in 1825 watched by a large crowd of onlookers. Three of the workmen involved celebrated this achievement by running across to the other side on the chain, which measured just 9" wide. The bridge was purposely built high enough to allow the biggest ships of the time to sail through. Telford's bridge is now one of two bridges across the strait; the other one carries the A5 road and the railway, both of which make their way across the island to Holyhead to link up with the ferries to Ireland.
Menai Bridge is also the name of the town which lies on the Anglesey side of the bridge. There is a pleasant walk along the shores of the strait which takes in a promenade known as Belgian Walk, so named because it was built by refugees from Belgium during World War I. A causeway leads out to Church Island where there is a 15th century church dedicated to St Tysilio, who built the original church in the 7th century. The Thomas Telford Centre contains an exhibition called Treftadaeth Menai Heritage which tells the story of the Menai Strait bridges, while for the future there is a project called Menai Heritage which aims to build a heritage centre in a warehouse on the Prince's Pier quay. Other attractions in the town include an artgallery and the Pili-Palas Nature World incorporating a butterfly farm, just outside Menai Bridge on the B5420.
Map of the area.
|Photo by Airwolfhound, via Wikimedia Commons|