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Dolauhirion Bridge
River Towy, Llanovery, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK
Dolauhirion Bridge
associated engineer
William Edwards
date  1773
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SN761361
ICE reference number  HEW 167
photo  © Crown copyright: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales | © Hawlfraint y Goron: Comisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru
The simple and elegant Grade I listed Dolauhirion Bridge is said to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. It carries a minor road (C2157) over the upper River Towy in south Wales and remains in use, with an imposed weight restriction.
The first bridge at this spot was recorded in 1396-7 as “'the bridge of Dolhir”, though the present Dolauhirion Bridge dates from 1773 and cost £800 to construct. It was designed by William Edwards (1719-89), the Welsh engineer who built Pontypridd Old Bridge. His sons David (b.1748) and Thomas (1750-1800) were involved too, and Thomas was the contractor.
The single span stone bridge lies 1.6km north of Llandovery and carries a 3.65m wide roadway across the river between rock abutments. Its 25.6m span segmental arch follows an elliptical curve and has deep haunches and a thin crown. One 2.4m diameter cylindrical hole through each spandrel reduces weight on the bridge’s haunches. Edwards first used the technique at Pontypridd in the 1755-6, though it is not unique to him.
In August 1961, The Field magazine claimed Dolauhirion Bridge as the “prettiest” bridge in Britain. A South American magazine later called it one of the 12 most beautiful bridges in the world.
Some time before November 2001, when an 18 tonne weight restriction was imposed, a concrete saddle was constructed over the bridge’s arch. However, further strengthening measures are constrained by its Grade I and Ancient Monument listings.
Contractor: Thomas Edwards
Research: ECPK
bibliography
http://carmants.org.uk
http://online.carmarthenshire.gov.uk
http://transportheritage.com
www.coflein.gov.uk
www.ice.org.uk
reference sources   CEH W&WCEH WalesBDCE1
Location

Dolauhirion Bridge