Bridges in Cumbria
The Bridges section of the Cumbria Directory is in memory of our photographer and friend, Graeme Dougal, who died on February 3, 2003.
There are many varieties of bridges in Cumbria, from those just for walkers to those that serve modern transportation. The county’s historic packhorse bridges date mostly from the 17th century. They were used by to transport salt, wool, cloth, slate, coal and lead ore. Drovers used them to move sheep and cattle to markets and towns.
The packhorse bridges were specially designed narrow in width with low parapets for clearance to accommodate the heavy, goods-laden panniers on the backs of animals.
Originally the bridges were wooden planks with log supports; later the wood was replaced with stone piers and arches. In the 18th century turnpike roads were built for transportation, rendering many of the bridges obsolete for their originally intended purpose.