Engineers plan reconstruction of Tarr Steps bridge washed away in Exmoor floods
Engineers have been called in to help plan a painstaking reconstruction project which will see one of the region’s historic bridges restored.
Engineering teams from Somerset County Council have been out on Exmoor’s River Barle this week looking for parts of the ancient Tarr Steps clapper bridge which was destroyed in flooding.
A spokesman for the authority – which regards the 180-foot-long bridge as part of the county highway network – said contractors had been engaged to help repair the ancient monument and they were preparing heavy machinery which will be used to retrieve the bridge’s stone slabs.
“One important thing the contractors have to do is to convert their equipment to biodegradable fuel which is required when you work in such an environmentally sensitive place,” said a council spokesman.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
“A team of our engineers has gone out to look at the scene, but the river’s still swollen so it’s difficult to say exactly where the stone slabs are. They’ve also had to speak to the Environment Agency and get approval to begin work – and that’s now been given the go-ahead.
“What the engineers are looking for is a window of opportunity – the machinery has to be ready and the river level has to go down,” added the spokesman. “But the council’s engineers do have the experience and knowledge to get the job done, so there’s no talk about bringing in the Army.”
Military sappers have been brought in previously when the bridge was smashed by floods.
Placing the stone slabs back in the positions they may have held for between 1,000 and 3,000 years (no one knows exactly how old Tarr Steps is) has been made easier since each was numbered and logged on a master-plan.
“Water levels are now beginning to drop and many of the stone slabs are becoming visible,” commented Dan James, sustainable economy officer at Exmoor National Park, adding that his main concern was now the reopening of the local footpath network.
“Tarr Steps is definitely one of Exmoor’s honey-pot walking areas and many of the paths here have been damaged by the recent floods,” he told the Western Daily Press.
“There a landslip which has cut the most popular riverside walk in one place – and another bridge has been washed away at Horsham Ford upstream.
“For residents and visitors alike, the path network is an important part of enjoying Exmoor and we’re keen to get things back to normal as soon as possible. If anyone would like to support us they can send a donation, however large or small, in the form of a cheque payable to ‘Exmoor National Park (CareMoor)’ and send it to us at Exmoor House, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9HL.
“We hope to make online donations possible very shortly. Businesses can participate too, through a donation or by helping raise funds from their customers,” added Mr James.