Leaf boats: Llangollen canal

This family activity challenges you to gather up as many natural materials as you can, and then use them to build a 'boat', ready to sail on the Llangollen canal.

Just in case you lose signal on your phone we recommend you download a PDF of this activity to your phone before you set off.

All mobile phones handle PDFs slightly differently, and if you have an iPhone or older Android phone you may need to download an app or similar in order to save the PDF onto your phone. If you can, we also recommend that you refer to your phone manual or support website for further guidance.

How to get here

LL20 8BT
Public Transport Information: 
For public transport options, call Traveline Cymru on 0871 200 2233 or National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.
Location Description: 
This adventure takes place at the Horseshoe Falls and on the wonderful Llangollen canal. To get to the starting point, take the A542 from Llangollen towards Ruthin, and after about 1 ¼ miles, turn onto the B5103 following the sign for the Corwen, Llantysilio and Rhewl). You will come to a junction with three road signs – for Corwen (B5103), Ruthin and Horseshoe Falls (the way you’ve come) and Llantysilio and Rhewl. Make sure you keep going straight on, following the signs for Llantysilio and Rhewl. After about 200m, you’ll come to parking on your left (there is a brown sign for a picnic area, and there are also toilets available here). You may want to check out the map of the area in the car park too. Then on foot, turn left out of the car park, and start walking towards the lovely church of Llantysilio. Take care, as there are no pavements on this stretch of road. The church is on your left – go down the small path, and then through the small gate to the left of the church’s main entrance (don’t go into the church yard). Then follow the track down to the River Dee (again, please take care, this track is often extremely muddy and not ideal for buggies or those with mobility issues).
Activity Starting Point: 
Start this activity once you’ve passed through the gate by the side of the church’s main entrance.
How long will the activity take? : 
This activity can be completed in half an hour, but you may choose to stay much longer to take in more of the canal and river, or even take a picnic!

What you will need

Comfortable walking shoes, bags of common sense (playing by water is fun but it can be dangerous too)and even bigger bags full of imagination.

Useful information

How long will the activity take? : 
This activity can be completed in half an hour, but you may choose to stay much longer to take in more of the canal and river, or even take a picnic!
Top Tips: 
Why not take a photo of your leaf boats and share them with us on the Discover Denbighshire Facebook page (search Discover Denbighshire). Are you coming with a pram or buggy? If so, you may find it easier to pick an alternative starting point; turn off the B5103 when you see signs for the Chainbridge Hotel, park up at the hotel (please note, parking is only for people using the hotel facilities too) and then take a stroll by the water right behind the hotel. You should be able to find enough materials to have a go at a leaf boat from here too!
Places to Eat and Drink: 

For places to eat and drink in the area, please visit

We hope you've enjoyed racing your boats along the canal. If you'd like to hear what life was like on the canal in the Victorian times, or would like to see some great pictures from the canal in its working heyday click on the links in the Sights and sounds section below.

And if you're up for exploring a little more, there's some great places nearby for you to visit, too.

Don't forget to tell us what you thought about this activity on the Discover Denbighshire Facebook page!