Members of the Dry Stone Walling Association and representatives from the national park authority and the CPRE on the completed bridge

Members of the Dry Stone Walling Association and representatives from the national park authority and the CPRE on the completed bridge

An exhibition bridge has been opened in the Yorkshire Dales after being transported stone by stone to its new site.

The arched bridge was originally built by members of the Otley & Yorkshire Dales branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association for a festival at Leyburn in Wensleydale.

The bridge, made from local limestone and sandstone, has been rebuilt over Eller Beck between Carperby and Woodhall, 12km (7½ miles) from its original site.

The Wensleydale branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England funded the £2,500 project.

Paul Sheehan, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s access ranger for Lower Wensleydale, who suggested the site, said: “We would like to thank the association members for their fantastic gift and the CPRE for funding the project,” he said.

“The bridge looks really fantastic and it will be much appreciated by all walkers who use the route.”

The bridge was officially handed over by association member John Heslegrave who said: “We would like to say thanks to the national park authority for letting us loose on the site, looking after planning approvals and providing resources for the foundations and general help and encouragement.

“We would also like to say thank you to the CPRE for funding the materials and equipment hire costs and to local suppliers of stone and equipment and particularly, the 14 association volunteers who have given their time and contributed the equivalent of 90 days.

“We had never built a bridge before this year so there was much to learn – but they have worked extremely well together to leave a lasting result in the Dale.”

Kristin Whalley, the Wensleydale CPRE Chairman, said: “This is an excellent example of the traditional skill of dry stone wall construction being used for a long-standing practical purpose.

“The bridge is on a well-walked footpath through an area rich in wildflowers and grasses in a prominent position alongside the Askrigg-Carperby road.

“Built using reclaimed sandstone and newly-quarried Wensleydale limestone, it will enhance what is already a beautiful Dales landscape.”

Until the bridge was built, the beck was crossed on a clapper bridge – a series of stones in the water with stone slabs across the top of them.

But it often became submerged during heavy rain, making it dangerous for walkers to use, and caused river water to back up and flood the nearby car park.

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