A fundraising campaign to reinstate a much-missed footbridge in Exmoor National Park’s stunning East Lyn Valley, near Lynmouth, has soared past the £30K halfway mark following a flurry of support from local groups. This includes the all-female singing group, the LynTones, who generously donated all £680 of the proceeds from their 2018 performances.
Laura Whitfield from the LynTones said: “We’re a friendly community vocal group who just love to sing. Each year we pick a different cause to support, with the Woodside Bridge chosen last year. Many of us have grown up in the area and it’s great to be helping put back a piece of local history that means people can once again experience this lovely circular walk. It’s a wonderful place to live.”
The Lyn Community Development Trust (LCDT)’s Woodside Bridge Appeal aims to raise the £60K needed for a new bridge at Woodside, after the old one wore out and had to be removed in 2016. It will mean those out for a beautiful riverside stroll will once again be able to return to the town via a short circular route through Middleham Memorial Gardens, created in memory of victims of the famous 1952 flood.
All donations, including any Gift Aid, are being match-funded by Exmoor National Park Authority until the end of March, with the Lyn Masonic Lodge, the Lyn Art and Craft Society, Sandra Collier and yoga group, plus many generous individuals among those to have donated recently.
The campaign has previously attracted support from Julia Bradbury, after the route featured in her hit TV series, ‘Britain’s Best Walks’ and online portal The Outdoor Guide, and also TV presenter Caroline Quentin, who took time to record a video appeal after finding out about the Bridge through her role as President of the Campaign for National Parks.
Suzette Hibbert, Director of the Lyn Community Development Trust, said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who has so far donated to our Woodside Bridge appeal, showing just how much it means to have this ancient walking route back in our community. It’s a cause that has won the backing of celebrities, locals and visitors alike and we’re proud to be helping save this unique piece of Lynmouth’s charm.”
The LCDT is arranging a series of fundraising events for 2019, including two National Trust guided walks exploring the flora and fauna of the East Lyn River on 13 April and 8 June, a joint event with the Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall on 20 April to remember the historic overland launch of the Louisa lifeboat in 1899 and the flood disaster of 1952, and a Race Night at The Bath Hotel on Saturday 18 May. An event at Hunters Inn is also planned for later in the year. For more information and to book visit the Lynmouth National Park Centre, call them on 01598 752509 or email NPCLynmouth@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk
Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “Building a new bridge from solid Exmoor oak would secure the future of Woodside Bridge once and for all, unlike previous softwood versions which have quickly worn out. We are delighted to help support the cause with our match-funding offer and hope it will mean thousands more can enjoy this magnificent woodland walk.”
Donate to the Woodside Bridge Appeal via CareMoor for Exmoor at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor, in person at the National Park Centre in Lynmouth or for Gift Aid via the LCDT at wonderful.org/appeal/woodsidebridgereplacementappeal-1f70a510.