Heritage Locations

Abercamlais Suspension Bridge

Cast iron suspension bridge by the great ironmaster Crawshay Bailey


Period of construction:
1800 - 1849

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Abercamlais, Brecon, Powys, LD3 8EY


Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Abercamlais is set in parkland to the north of the A40 between Sennybridge and Brecon, just within the northern boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is a Grade 1 listed building, originally dating from the middle ages, but altered extensively early in the early 18th Century with additions in Victorian times. It is set in extensive grounds, sheltered from the prevailing winds by mature beech and oak trees.

In the grounds of the estate is a slender suspension footbridge across the River Usk. It is attributed to Crawshay Bailey, the famous iron master of Nantyglo in the eastern Ebbw valley.

The suspension cables for the bridge consist of two 28mm diameter wrought iron rods set 812mm vertically apart, one pair each side. The threaded end of the rods pass through the cast iron end posts and are tensioned against the posts by nuts. The posts are 1.83m high. The bridge spans 24.4m.

Both the walkway and the structure that supports it are made entirely of iron. Every 3m along the bridge, iron rods - hooked over the top cables and looped around the lower ones - carry 100mm x 9mm flat iron deck-bearers that run across the width of the bridge. In between the rods, short hangers attached to the lower cables support smaller section intermediate bearers.

The walkway consists of four flat iron planks running the length of the bridge. These are spaced apart and provide a walkway almost half a metre wide. The planks are rivetted to the wider bearers but sit freely on the others.

Burr, William Hubert, A Course on the Stresses in Bridge and Roof Trusses, Arched Ribs and Suspension Bridges (1886), Kessinger Publishing, ISBN-10: 1104171740 (2009)

Cragg, R., Civil engineering Heritage: Wales an Central england, thomas Telford, ISBN 0 7277 2576 9 (1997)

Drewry, C.S., A Memoir of Suspension Bridges: Comprising a History of their Origin, BiblioBazaar, ISBN -10 05547 25657 (2008)

Melan, Josef, Theory of Arches and Suspension Bridges (1913, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN-10: 1437437125 (2008)

Minchinton, W., A Guide to Industrial Archaeology sites in Britain, Granada ASIN: B0020ZCPRY (1984)

Peters, Tom
, Transitions in Engineering: Guillaume Henri Dufour and the Early 19th Century Cable Suspension Bridges, Birkhauser, ISBN-10: 3764319291 (1987)

Steinman, David,
A Practical Treatise on Suspension Bridges: Their Design, Construction and Erection (1922), Kessinger Publishing, ISBN-10: 1436606446 (2008)

Steinman, David,
Suspension Bridges and Cantilevers, BiblioBazaar, ISBN-10: 0559673132 (2008)

Opening Times:
Opening hours vary - visit website or email info@abercamlais.co.uk

How To Find:

By road: Just north of the A 40 five miles west of Brecon.



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