Neil Collie, Member
This article is from Signpost 64, Summer 20202016 Harrop Brook Bridge, Rainow FP28 - Pott ShrigleyFP4)
I came across this footbridge near Bollington some years ago when I was the Bridges Assessor for the Society. It is in a lovely setting on the Gritstone Trail and adds beauty to the surroundings. The bridge is located in the Peak District National Park (at grid reference SJ 948785) and on the Gritstone Trail, a popular long distance trail stretching south from Disley through East Cheshire and Staffordshire to Kidsgrove.
After severe flooding in 2018, the bridge was considered to be unsafe due to movement of some large stones at its base. The bridge was probably built in Victorian times, it looks like a pack-horse bridge and is known locally as the 'Donkey Bridge'. Cheshire East Council closed the footpath and there was talk of replacing the bridge with a cheaper wooden structure. The Council asked local organisations for donations so that they could 'justify' the additional cost of restoration to their finance department. I was contacted by the local Pott Shrigley Inspector, John Goodman, who was as keen as I was to retain this iconic arch bridge. In the event, the PNFS Trustees were very supportive and pledged £1,000 towards the cost. Smaller donations were obtained from East Cheshire Ramblers, Pott Shrigley Parish Council and from Rainow Parish Council.
The repairs took a long time to organise as Harrop Brook is, surprisingly, classified as a 'main river' and the responsibility of the Environment Agency. However the restoration was completed in early 2020 when stones were replaced in the arch and bags filled with fast-set concrete were carefully placed at the side of the stream to protect the bridge from further damage. Whilst the restoration looks stark initially, I fully expect it will mellow over time with the lichen and vegetation covering the bank to blend into the surroundings.
A very satisfactory outcome. Thank you PNFS!
Once these current covonavirus restrictions are lifted and we can socialise again, we hope to organise a 'hand-over event' at the site – another task for our new Bridges Assessor, Nigel Howe.
Next: Signpost Synergy
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