I don’t normally put holiday snaps on my blog but I know I have quite a few overseas readers who enjoy seeing the scenery. I also want to share my current enthusiasm for pack horse bridges which shows some of the layers of mans footprint on the land.
Last week our children were at an outdoor activity centre for the week so Nicola and I managed to get away for a couple of days together. For those that don’t know the lake district it is a very pretty National Park in the North of England and on a good day it looks like this.
This is Coniston, we visited our friend Owen Jones the oak swill basket maker who lives on the banks of Coniston before heading off for some walking. My work van doubles as a camper when we go off on trips like this and we always take our spooncarving tools and make a few spoons from local wood.
Our first walk was close to Grizedale forest and we came across a beautiful brindge which I had to know more about. I love work like this that is made from local materials and justs fits it’s environment beautifully.
At a glance it seemed like a bridge built for carts but closer inspection revealed it was first a pack horse bridge that had later been widened. This photo of the underside clearly shows the original narrow bridge to the right.
This is typical of walking on the fells in the Lakes though the weather is not always as good. I love the variety of walling styles which vary within a few hundred yards at times as the local stone changes.
Then we dropped down into Great Langdale for a pub lunch followed by a walk back down the valley, looking at all the bridges as we went. Having seen the one was originally for packhorses now I had to check them all.
This one was too, in fact nearly all of them were. See the narrow original bridge at the far side of this photo. I gues originally all the bridges were packhorse width and then all would have been widened at the same time. It would be interesting to know when.
Finally half way back to Elterwater we found this bridge which looked at a glance quite like the others but showed no sign of ever having been narrow. I was delighted when Nicola consulted the map and told me we were at “new bridge”.
Having built several timber bridges now and worked with a very good dry stone waller, the natural progresion has got to be to build one of these bridges. I just need to find the right spot and it may take a few years but I often sit on ideas like this for several years before they come to fruition. When the finished bridge could be there in 200 years time then it is worth the wait.