A fundraising campaign has been launched by Exmoor National Park’s CareMoor for Exmoor* to replace a much-loved feature of Exmoor – Woodside Bridge, which has provided a crossing of the East Lyn river near Lynmouth for over a hundred years.
Woodside Bridge had to be removed last December following an inspection which revealed that the softwood timber beams had come to the end of their life. The bridge was replaced in the 1950s after the Lynmouth Flood and again in 1993 by the Royal Engineers working with Exmoor National Park. At 17.3m/57feet, the structure is the longest single span countryside bridge in the National Park.
Thousands of people used the bridge each year to enjoy the short, easy circuit taking in Middleham Memorial Gardens along with the beauty and wildlife of the river and woodland valley. The bridge is an important link for visitors and the local businesses which they support.
Dan Barnett, Access & Recreation Manager at Exmoor National Park, said: “Many people are surprised to learn that the bridge is not recorded as a public right of way which means there is no duty for local authorities to replace it, so we need your help.
“We are keen to replace the bridge as soon as funds allow so we are asking visitors, residents and anyone who cares about Exmoor to make a donation. Any amount, large or small, will help and we hope to reach our target by Christmas which will allow us to get the bridge installed ready for Easter next year when the main visitor season begins.
“We now have a price of £65,000 to install a high-quality new structure. This is a steel beam supported bridge with hardwood timber work which will have a very long design life.”
The land where the bridge is sited is owned by The National Trust, which is a partner in this project.
For more information and to contribute to the Woodside fund please visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor/woodside www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor/woodside
* CareMoor for Exmoor is the Authority donation scheme for Exmoor National Park. It offers everyone who has been inspired by Exmoor an opportunity to contribute to the upkeep of the environment of the National Park and its future. Donations help fund Nature, Heritage and Access projects to keep Exmoor special. For more information visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor
PHOTO AT TOP: Colour-tinted image shows two ladies walking on the footpath opposite Tors Road, early 1900s. Photograph kindly donated by Paul Sheppard.