Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Historic Bridge on Pennine Way Reopened

Bob Proctor, Footbridge Assessor

This article is from Signpost 60, Summer 2019

The Hebble Hole bridge is a grade 2-listed historic stone clapper bridge which carries the Pennine Way across the stream in Colden Clough, a deep valley west of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire at grid ref SD 967282. The bridge dates back to the seventeenth century. The bridge is made up of four stone monoliths, about 350 x 250 mm in section, supported on abutments at each end with a central pier. In the winter of 2017/18, a large tree fell onto the bridge, dislodging one of these beams which fell into the stream and snapped. Since the bridge is a listed structure it could not be replaced with a modern alternative and the decision was taken to employ specialist contractors to repair it. The total cost was about £30,000 and the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society agreed to make a donation of £5,000, the balance being met by the Pennine National Trails Partnership (PNTP) and Calderdale Council.

L-R: Jan Gibson (Calderdale Council RoW officer;
two representatives of the contractors; David Hurrell, PNFS Chairman;
Grayde Bowen, Chairman of Blackshaw Parish Council; Chairman of Heptonstall Parish Council;
and Bob Proctor, PNFS Footbridge Assessor, PNFS; photo by Andy Leader

Work started last winter. Scaffolding to provide a working platform with a lifting gantry was erected over the bridge. The contractors lifted the broken stone beam on to the platform where it was drilled and stainless steel rods inserted in the fractured ends. An epoxy resin grout was applied and the two pieces were drawn together to make a permanent joint. With the drainage work that was done to direct water away from the bridge supports, the bridge should stand for another three or four centuries.

On 14 April 2019, an event was held to mark the re-opening of the bridge at which our Chairman, David Hurrell, handed over a cheque to Nick Osborne of the PNTP for the Society’s contribution to the cost (see photo). There was a good attendance with representatives of the local parish councils, the PNTP, and Calderdale Council attending as well as a couple of PNFS members and local residents. All were entertained by a local morris dancing side. An exhibition of photographs dealing mainly with the technical aspects of the repair was held at the nearby New Delight pub where the contractor’s site engineer was on hand to answer questions.

I visited the site on a sunny day in early April and met many walkers, most of whom were doing circular works from Hebden Bridge taking in the full length of the pleasantly wooded Colden Clough. One local walker said, “It’s a brilliant job. You can hardly tell it was ever broken and I’m really pleased that such a good repair was made.” I fixed some of our plaques near the bridge which should give some useful publicity for the Society.

Next: Sheffield FP41

Page title:Historic Bridge on Pennine Way Reopened
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