15C packhorse bridge, winter sketch in watercolour and mixed media

This is somewhere I've sketched before as part of the waterways/Leicestershire project. It's an old packhorse bridge over flood meadows where the river Biam meets the river Soar. It used to be 200 yards long but only 50 survive. A lot was demolished when the canal and railway were built through the site. The buttresses sticking out are cut waters, protecting the bridge from the pressure of floods, keeping it standing for 600 years.

Nearby is a field still showing the ridges of medieval strip farming, the canal and a railway track that is now a path for strollers and cyclists. It makes a route that cuts right across the city, joining with the canal towpath, through these meadows, industrial areas, through parks, the backs of houses, by my old university, finally reaching water meadows on the other side of town.

This started with watercolour and continued with ballpoint pen, art bars, graphitints and gouache ... The kitchen sink may be in there somewhere.  Watercolour alone wasn't getting the solidity, weight and texture of the massive stones

Take a look in the comments, where Colin Griffiths has left links to his blog with historical background to this under the Leicestershire tab.  Lots of other interesting local history and great photos.


dinahmow said…
Oh,yes! I remember that bridge - it's how I came to "meet" you.

I like the stonework in this version, Vivien. Too bad I wont have time on this trip to see the real bridge!
vivien said…
Thanks. :). Are you coming to the uk.?

Colin Griffiths said…
This is lovely! I cycle along the Great Central Way every work day. I wrote about the bridge here:


Also, there's an interesting quote from Throsby here:


- the higglers used to cross this bridge after coming down the Braunstone Lane from Kirby Muxloe. Also, it was known as a place where Edwardian courting couples would walk to on summer evenings before returning to Aylestone tram terminus.

I hadn't appreciated you had a Leics project and I've enjoyed looking back at your posts tagged as such, especially the sketches of hedgrows and things that most folk bever notice. A big part of my own visual journey has been to learn to "look" AND to "see" the beauty that is on my doorstep. We don't have to travel to notable national parks to see wonderful things.

vivien said…
Fascinating details in your posts and beautiful photographs. Thank you for these links. I highly recommend people take a look.
vivien said…
And so agree about really looking.

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