St. Mary’s Pedestrian Bridge Project Appeal
2017 was the 125th Anniversary of our very beautiful (Grade ll Listed) Victorian bridge sitting in the Lydney Conservation Area. Historic England listing states ‘This a very complete survival, elegant and of great economy in engineering design.’
1962/3 Photo’s: Bob Marrow
In January 2007 as the bridge was in a state of disrepair, Gloucestershire Council issued a Notice of Temporary Emergency Bridge / Footpath Closure and inclusion in the FoDDC Buildings at Risk Register but St. Mary’s Bridge is as much needed today as when originally built.
Photo: Roger Phelps
St. Mary’s Footbridge is an important local icon and amenity, as well as being historically important to DFR as the last remaining piece of original Severn & Wye Railway infrastructure. The restoration project is costing in the region of £150,000 - this will preserve it for the benefit, appreciation and enjoyment of future generations.
A grant from the Rural Development Fund has allowed us to proceed with the project and we have instructed local business Mabey Bridge to complete the work.
However, the grant does not cover the whole project cost, so it would be nice to raise money locally too!
You can donate by making a cheque payable to the Dean Forest Railway Co. Ltd. and sending it to:
Dean Forest Railway c/o St. Mary’s Bridge Appeal
Norchard Station, Forest Road, Lydney Gloucestershire GL15 4ET
Or you can donate via paypal by clicking below:
The History of St. Mary’s Bridge
‘The cast iron lattice footbridge just beyond Churchfield occupation level crossing was first opened to the public on 26th September 1892. It was provided to combat the ‘serious trespass that has grown up by the workmen and others walking over the company’s railway between the engine shed and tinplate sidings and the church, the excuse being that the coal trains standing on the company’s railway opposite the church prevented them from using the public footpath through the churchyard and crossing the railway at that point’. The structure was ordered from Messrs. G. Smith & Co. of Glasgow who were to deliver and erect it for £247, the S&W preparing the foundations. The cost was in fact exceeded by £20 when it was found necessary to increase the span and lengthen the stairs.
The bridge was a great source of attraction to the local children who were apparently in the habit of sliding down the handrails, and in 1901 the Lydney local authorities pointed out the potential danger of the culprits falling off and becoming impaled on the iron railings beneath. The Committee agreed and scotched the practice for a cost of 30 shillings simply by fixing iron nuts at intervals along the handrails.’
Severn & Wye Railway Forest of Dean Volume 1 Ian Pope / Bob How / Paul Karau - Wild Swan Publications Ltd. Available in DFR Shop!
Progress update January 2019
The contractors are begining to put the restored bridge back in place, and we expect the bridge to re-open in the spring. Still time to donate!!