Historic Bridge Re-Opens

Local News

A popular and vital footbridge over the River Wharfe at Wood Hall, Linton near Wetherby, has officially re-opened to the public after being closed for more than two years.

The winter floods of 2013 sent a floating tree crashing into the stone buttresses of the bridge, dislodging them and making the historic bridge unsafe to pass over.

The timber and iron footbridge was designed and built by a Leeds Company in the 19th century. John Whitham established the Perseverance Iron Foundry on Kirkstall Road, across the road from where the Radio Aire Studios now stand. His son Joseph Whitham built the bridge, which bears the date 1868 on the ironwork.

It became a popular local amenity and the Ebor Way from York to Ilkley passes over it.

In 2012, the White Rose Way, a newly created long distance footpath from Leeds City Square to Scarborough, (www.whiteroseway.co.uk) also made use of the bridge.

This walk has become hugely popular since it’s inception.

Following the bridge closure, residents and walkers of the two routes were forced to divert along the busy and dangerous A659, which in places has no footpath. Following lobbying by Parish Councils and local people, North Yorkshire County Council agreed to repair the bridge, which had been at some risk of demolition without a replacement.

The River Wharfe marks the boundary between North and West Yorkshire, with the County Councils taking responsibility for alternate bridges. In this case the bridge fell within the remit of North Yorkshire. Their contractors began work in November 2014 to anchor and strengthen the buttresses and this work has just been completed.

A re-opening ceremony was held on Tuesday 12th May 2015 when the ribbon was cut by The Chairman of the County Council, Councillor Tim Swales, who said, “This has re-opened many circular walks which have been sorely missed. It has also eliminated the dangers faced by walkers of the two long distance footpaths, who have had to brave the dangerous Collingham to Harewood A-road”.

The bridge should now be good for at least another 150 years.

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