Work is carried out on one of the bridges

Work is carried out on one of the bridges

National park bosses say the construction of two new bridges will open up a secret part of the Lake District for outdoor enthusiasts.

The two large structures have been put in place in the Blengdale Forest in the West of the national park.

The park authority said the bridges near Gosforth will improve access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders over rivers in one of the least known parts of the Lake District.

The bridges, over the River Bleng and Scalderscew Beck in the Blengdale Forest, are part of a community-led project to improve access and open up new public rights of way on Forestry Commission land near Gosforth.

Lake District National Park Authority field ranger Phil Clague said the largest bridge, over the Bleng, is more than 20m in length. The smaller one is around 10m and both bridges use steel beams with timber decking and handrails.

Diggers were used to move the bridge beams into position

Diggers were used to move the bridge beams into position

“We often replace bridges as part of our work to maintain footpaths and bridleways, but these two provided a particular challenge,” he said. “The sheer size of the beams meant that handling and moving them took a lot of planning and thinking about.

“With access to the site not being easy it was not possible to get a crane to help with the lifting during the two weeks of construction.

“We used two diggers to push and pull the beams across the river. We were fortunate that stone abutments from old forestry bridges were already in place and in good condition, and we managed to do the work without having to take machinery into the river.”

Both bridges are built to bridleway specifications, with extra width and high handrails, designed with horses and cyclists in mind.

The next part of the project, led by the local community and the Forestry Commission, will formalise the new rights of way, improve surfacing and drainage and provide a new view point and signs.

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