Above: A small plaque beside the bridge explains that it was rebuilt here in 1965 during the construction of the reservoir.
The packhorse bridge has now been closed for a few weeks waiting for the land-owners, United Utilities, to repair the stonework at the foot of one of the supports that’s been washed away by the force of the water.
I first noticed water was getting into the joints between the stones back in September 2019. I was hoping UU would make repairs at that stage, rather than wait until the damage got too severe. But hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Above: The damaged bridge pictured at the end of April 2021.
I’m not sure how long UU is going to take to repair the bridge. When I went down to take these photos, someone had removed a couple of pallets which were blocking both ends of the bridge. I can’t imagine that the bridge is going to collapse under the weight of anyone using it. But I guess it’s best to avoid using it.
There are lots of photos and information on the bridge on this website (click to view). It once stood in the heart of Goyt’s Bridge, which now lies under the southern end of Errwood Reservoir. And was moved here when the reservoir was flooded in 1965.
Page update 14th August 2021: It’s now about five months since United Utilities put up notices warning people not to use the packhorse bridge, and saying they will have a “temporary crossing available shortly”. But there’s no sign of the alternative crossing, and the damage is getting far more serious (see above).
People are still using the bridge – but it’s looking dangerously close to collapse. So I’m trying to discover what plans UU have for both repairing it, and installing the temporary crossing. I’ll update this page if I can discover any more information.
Page update, 24th December 2021: UU has finally installed some protection around the damaged pillar (click to enlarge). They’ve also cemented in some heavy-duty metal barriers at both ends of the bridge to prevent people crossing it. My concern is that they’re now going to forget about it. Andy from Forestry England says they’re going to start repairs in January. But I’m not holding my breath. They’ve already changed their mind about installing a temporary crossing, despite the notice put at the top barrier back in April (see top of page).
Page update, 23rd March 2022: I’ve just spoken to UU Catchment Manager, Mark Seymour, and he’s assured me that work will start in “late spring” – depending on the weather – and that it should take a couple of weeks. So the bridge should be repaired and reopened within the next three months. Mark added: “I hope you gathered I am in full support to save the bridge with the plan I have put together.” So that’s great news.
Page update, 22nd June 2022: Great news: the bridge has finally been repaired and reopened. Click here for the full story.