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Stainforth Packhorse Bridge
River Ribble, Stainforth, North Yorkshire, UK
Stainforth Packhorse Bridge
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 1675
era  Stuart  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD816672
ICE reference number  HEW 4
photo  PHEW
A narrow single-span masonry packhorse bridge carrying the Dog Hill Brow road across the River Ribble. The stone bridge replaced a timber structure that took the place of a ford — the name Stainforth means ‘stony ford’. It remains in regular use, as the only river crossing between Great and Little Stainforth in north Yorkshire.
Stainforth Packhorse Bridge lies on the trade route once plied by packhorses from Lancaster to Ripon. It was built to replace a timber bridge at the behest of Samuel Watson (c1618-1708). Watson, a renowned local Quaker, owned nearby Knight Stainforth Hall (SD814672), which dates from 1672, though there had been a manor on the spot from the 14th century or earlier.
From its abutments founded on rock, the bridge rises 4m from springing to soffit and spans 17.4m across the River Ribble. The arch soffit is 5.3m above low water level. The segmental arch is a plain parallel ring that narrows at the crown. The bridge’s overall width is 2.9m at the crown, and 3.3-3.4m at the abutments. The roadway measures 2.2m between parapets in the centre and 2.5m at the springing.
The parapets vary in height from 910mm to 1.1m, and are built of rough mortared stonework continuous with the stone walling on the bridge approaches. The top of the parapet is about 2m above the soffit of the arch at the crown.
On 23rd September 1931, the bridge was transferred into the care of the National Trust. Until then, the owner of Knight Stainforth Hall had repaired the bridge, though it remained a public right of way.
Stainforth Packhorse Bridge and Knight Stainforth Hall are Grade II listed buildings.
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH North

Stainforth Packhorse Bridge