Those missing Exmoor can look forward to a walk across the newly reinstated Woodside Bridge in the National Park’s stunning East Lyn Valley once government restrictions lift.
Contractors working with the National Park’s Ranger and Field Services teams finally craned the long-awaited bridge into place yesterday on Monday 4 May, paid for by the community following a £65K fundraising drive led by the Lyn Community Development Trust in partnership with the National Park’s CareMoor for Exmoor scheme.
The new 18m bridge is built with Exmoor oak sourced sustainably from the National Park’s own woodlands, milled locally by Wedgewood Construction and designed and installed by leading footbridge specialists, CTS Bridges, in partnership with Avon Construction.
It was assembled on site and special groundworks were undertaken to allow access for the new bridge to be craned onto the abutments of the former bridge. All this took place under strict Government Covid-19 guidelines to ensure worker and public safety.
Exmoor National Park Access and Recreation Manager Dan Barnett, who has overseen the project from start to finish, said: “This is an incredibly proud moment for the whole team at the National Park, many of whom have contributed to the success of this project. With its durable design, this latest bridge is built to last and will undoubtedly be a source of joy to all those who visit this beautiful area for many years to come.
“Getting the job done while coronavirus restrictions are in place has been no mean feat. But although people will have to wait a while longer before visiting, they do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and we are pleased to have given them something worth the wait.”
The route, which meanders along the beautiful tree-lined banks of the East Lyn River and featured in Julia Bradbury’s hit TV series Britain’s Best Walks, has long been a favourite of locals and visitors to the busy harbour town. It allows walkers to enjoy a gentle circular walk returning via Middleham Memorial Gardens planted in memory of victims of the notorious 1952 flood, which decimated much of Lynmouth. It will remain closed for another few weeks while work to finish construction of the new bridge and upgrade the path is completed.
Suzette Hibbert, Lyn Community Development Trust Trustee and Deputy Mayor of Lynmouth, commented: “To say I am delighted to see the bridge back in place is an understatement. The generosity of our community and our visitors, the work of our volunteers and the unwavering support and expertise of the National Park Authority, has made it possible for the trustees of the Lyn Community Development Trust to see through the successful outcome of this project. Thank you to all involved.”