Friday, April 20, 2007

The old packhorse bridge



(slide show - if you subscribe you'll probably just see a little icon that says get your own!)

I didn't have time to sketch today but I did manage to get out with my camera to a nice spot on the edge of the city at Aylestone.

You go under an old bridge carryng a disused railway line to a little car park overlooking ancient willows. A Victorian bridge takes you to the other side of the canal and looks onto the water meadows surrounding the River Biam, a tiny river, crossed by a 15th Century packhorse bridge. It's popular with walkers because you can walk for miles along the canal towpath with occasional side trips like this and you can walk or cycle into the country to the south or through the city and out the other side to the north alongside the river or canal.

Marsh land was the biggest barrier to travel and trade in ancient times - rivers could be navigated or forded or crossed by bridge, but marshes were treacherous and changeable and a major problem. The website says:

The bridge is probably 15th century, with later additions and alterations. It comprises a primitive type, long narrow pack-horse bridge and causeway across a stream and swampy ground. It was originally about 200 metres long, but is now about 50 metres long. Built of stone (including granite), but repaired with brick in a number of places. Eleven arches, all small, three belonging to the causeway, and eight to the bridge proper. One or two arches slightly pointed. Some projecting cutwaters, some square, some pointed, three with refuges over. There is a parapet, but this is missing for about 20 metres, and replaced by a fence.



The light was lovely with great reflections and a couple of families of ducks were paddling amongst the growth at the edge of the water.

This is one of the places I want to sketch.



here is a link to a really great photo by Ben Ravilious
http://www.benravilious.com/photos/20040507_CRW_1757.jpg

6 comments:

Annie said...

This video is so beautiful, Vivien. I will have to revisit it whenever I want a peaceful and meditative moment

Kate said...

I enjoyed reading about the history of this bridge ... living on the Canadian prairies, which were mostly settled in the early 1900s, I am in awe of places where there is a long and rich history.

I can imagine making this a favourite walking route. My dog would love it, methinks!

vivien said...

Thanks Annie and Kate

the area does have a loooong rich history - there are the ruins of Roman baths in the centre of town and a few old building survived a terrible town planner in the 60's, who destroyed so much, it's really sad what we lost.

There are even standing stones in the nearby countryside - which I didn't know until researching this project - so incredibly ancient.

Leicester comes from the Roman Leir Caster - the King Lear of Shakespeare ruled here and is supposed to be buried beneath the river.

Richard III's body was thrown in the river here after losing the Battle of Bosworth nearby.

Many place names in the area are of Viking origin.

DNA was unravelled at the university here .... lots of stuff going on :)

Katherine said...

All these people doing really whizzy things on their blogs! i was watching real time art activity yesterdya lunchtime on another.

I feel like an old fuddy duddy!

vivien said...

fuddy duddy???? I don't think so!

It's only a photobucket slide show and it is really easy to do :>)

vivien said...

PS unfortunately if you subscribe the slide show doesn't travel and all they get is a little icon that says 'get your own'



....... which seems a little rude!