ElegantÂ three span stone bridge across the River UskÂ Â
Period of construction:
1800 - 1849
Transport Trust plaque:
Pant-y-Goitre Bridge, Llanfair Kilgeddin, Abergavenny NP7 9BE
The first British bridges were almost certainly felled trees lain across the river (Stockbridge and Trowbridge both refer to tree trunk bridges) and then of worked timber. The Romans built bridges in wood, and probably stone, but no complete examples remain in Britain. The oldest surviving timber bridge is over the River Ouse at Selby and dates from 1790.
The first simple stone bridges - clapper bridges comprise large slabs of stone rested on stone piers to span a stream or small river. Tarr Steps, which crosses the River Barle in Somerset, is the longest withÂ seventeen spans supporting stone slabs 1.5 m (5 ft) wide. It is too narrow for carts but Pont Sarnddu in Carnarvonshire is ten feet across and wide enough for vehicles.
Packhorse bridges, small arched bridges, with very low parapets so as not to get in the way of the horse's panniers, can still be found for example at Wycoller in Lancashire, Moulton in Suffolk, and Fifehead Neville, Dorset.
More sophisticated stone bridges were built abundantly in the 13th century, the use of timber continued into the 16th century. The river Skell at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, is crossed by probably the oldest arched bridge in England. Thirteenth to fourteenth century bridges can be recognised by their pointed arches and by the V-shaped extensions over the cutwaters for pedestrian refuges. These were superseded by bridges which were ribbed under the arches (14/15 century), and those with semi-circular arches.
But all of these styles are modified by the needs and knowledge of the locality. In the early eighteenth century Daniel Defoe observed "...the Nyd, smaller then the Wharfe, but furiously rapid, and very dangerous to pass in many places, especially upon sudden rains. Notwithstanding, such lofty high built bridges are as not to be seen over such small rivers in any other place".
Masonry arch and cast iron bridges derive from the late 18th and 19th centuries. Bridges were usually made from local materials. In the eastern counties they were first built with timber and then brick. This particularly graceful bridge was built in about 1821 over the river Usk. It is attributed to a local engineer John Upton. It carries the road from Abergavenny to Usk. It has a central span of 18 m (58 ft) and two of 12 m (39 ft). The arches are semi-eliptical. The two abutments are pierced by large cylindrical voids for flood relief and these are replicated on a smaller scale in each of the piers.
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How To Find:
By Road: OnÂ B4598,Â north of Llanfair Kilgeddin
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