North West Wales

New tidal doors at Malltraeth follow Telford design

The doors are lifted into place
Image caption The doors are lifted into place and form part of a larger flood defence along the cob

Tidal doors first designed by Thomas Telford about 200 years ago have been replaced on Anglesey.

Without the Horseshoe Pool doors the sea would have encroached on marshland, and centrally-positioned Llangefni would be a seaside town.

The craftsman-built structure - along with another pair of larger gates - completes a flood defence which protects homes at Malltraeth.

It also guards a site of special scientific interest and RSPB reserve.

Malltraeth is situated on the south west coast of Anglesey along the river Cefni.

It is noted as the village wildlife painter Charles Tunnicliffe where moved in 1947, and established his studio, overlooking the Cefni Estuary.

Image caption Thomas Telford built the Malltraeth embankment in the early 19th Century

The need to replace the doors was discovered last year when work was being carried out on the main tidal doors on the mile-long Malltraeth embankment, which was built by Thomas Telford - who also designed the Menai Suspension bridge - in the early 1800s.

The ones being replaced this time have stood in place since the 1950s, and there are plans to hand them over to a local group as a focal point for the cob (embankment) which forms part of the sea defence.

Dafydd Gwynedd Jones, from community group Malltraeth Ymlaen, said the structures had resulted in 4,300 acres of marsh land being reclaimed from the sea.

"It led to a coalworks on the marshland, and also Telford was able to build the A5 road to Holyhead," he said.

David Edwell, the north Wales area manager for the Environment Agency Wales, said the embankment protects a part of Anglesey from being "inundated" by the sea.

"The Horseshoe Pool doors play a vital part of this defence, and this project is essential to our work which is to protect properties which are at risk from flooding from rivers, and the sea," he added.

Joiner Gareth Gadsby, who built the new gates, said the size of the doors were a challenge.

"Some of the machinery I have aren't big enough to cope, so a lot of the work was done by hand.

"In a way it was going back to how they would have worked on them originally," he added.

Green oak has been used, and Ifor Hughes from Anglesey company William Hughes and Sons said the wood was better able to cope with conditions than other materials.

"Hard wood like oak lasts better, it works better in sea water - better than iron which would rust," he said.

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