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Tarr Steps
associated engineer
date  circa 1100
UK era  Medieval  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SS866321
ICE reference number  HEW 863
A stone clapper bridge of unusual length. Tarr Steps fords the River Barle at a width of 130ft.
The bridge consists of 17 spans. Unmortared stone piers stand at approximately equal distances across the Tarr, each one being about 9ft long by 3ft wide by 3ft high. Rough-hewn stone slabs, called clappers, rest without further fastening upon these piers. The clappers are between 7 and 10in thick, and range up to a length of 10ft and a width of 5ft.
A distinctive feature of Tarr Steps is the slabs which are raked against the ends of each pier to break the force of the river and divert floating debris. Despite this innovation, the reputedly medieval bridge was swept apart by floods in 1952, but a survey made in 1949 allowed its owners, Somerset County Council, to replace the clappers precisely.
reference sources   LG/SJ

Tarr Steps