The old packhorse bridge
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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