Wednesday 3 May 1989

Bishopstrow Footbridge


In a recent slide-show I gave about some of the interesting historical features in the Wylye Valley I drew attention to the little cast-iron footbridge over the mill race, just south of Bishopstrow Mill, commenting how it was missing some of its intermediate upright posts and their connecting chain.

It dates from the early 1800s, and I thought it a great pity that one of my favourite pieces of local industrial archaeology was lacking some of its original finery, particularly so when a Department of the Environment survey (compiled some years ago) acclaims it as "an elegant example of a simple bridge design."

I was, therefore, delighted to see, while out on a walk last weekend, that some kind and industrious person, had sympathetically renewed all sixteen of the bridge's intermediate posts and connected them up, and also attended to the brickwork on the river bank beneath the bridge ends. The transformation of the structure, in its splendid setting, is quite remarkable, and I heartily applaud the action that has brought about the improvement.

In these modern times, when all we seem to hear and read about is the vandalism and the unrelenting destruction of our heritage and surroundings, it makes a refreshing change to see some thought and attention being paid to the environment. People are all too quick to award brickbats, and let's face it, there's been plenty of instances in recent years where they are due; but I would like, on this occasion, to do the opposite and award a bouquet.

On behalf of walkers and everyone who enjoys the local countryside, I thank who ever was responsible for the repair of the iron footbridge at Bishopstrow. To he or she I say "Thank you" and "Well done". I'm sure I am not alone in expressing these sentiments.

Danny Howell.