The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
A study of Bridges in Wales
In October 2009 I holidayed in Wales. I took with me a list of 12 bridges I'd like to photograph, if we were passing. We reached many of them, and happened upon others that I liked; in total I photographed 16 different Welsh bridges.

In many cases I was only able to grab a quick snap from the nearest riverbank, so they may not be perfectly composed, nor the clearest view, but I hope that as a set my photographs are enjoyable.

The bridges are presented in alphabetical order. Click on any of the images to view the fullsize version.

Barmouth Bridge - Click for map

The Barmouth Bridge is a single-track wooden railway viaduct crossing Mawddach Estuary. It was opened in 1867 and is half a mile long, at 820 metres, looking somewhat like an old pier. Originally there was a lifting drawbridge section, but this was rebuilt in 1901 as a swing bridge with two steel spans which you can see on the left hand side. The bridge now also incorporates a footway so pedestrians may walk across for a small fee. The Barmouth Bridge carries trains on the Cambrian Line operated by Arriva.

Blue Bridge, Queensferry - Click for map

The original road bridge linking Queensferry and Garden City before the neighbouring bridge carrying the A550 was built; the Blue Bridge hasn't opened since that time. I passed over to take a photo of the Hawarden Bridge, but this bridge also caught my attention.

Britannia Bridge - Click for map

The Britannia Bridge crosses the Menai Strait between Welsh mainland, and the Isle of Anglesey. It was originally a tubular bridge of wrought iron rectangular box-section spans, opened in 1850. The bridge was damaged by fire in 1970, and subsequently rebuilt as a two-tier steel truss arch bridge, which reopened in 1972. Sections of the original bridge stand next to it, with stone lions at their feet, but I couldn't work out how to get down there.

Conwy Suspension Bridge - Click for map

The Conwy Suspension Bridge was one of the first road suspension bridges in the world (now pedestrian only). Built by Thomas Telford in 1826, it spans the River Conwy next to Conwy Castle, with a delightful toll-keeper's house, now manned by the National Trust where they relieve you of £1 to walk across. Telford matched the bridge's supporting towers with the castle's turrets, making for a formidable view as you approach. The suspension cables are anchored into the rock where it meets the castle.

Conwy Road, Pedestrian and Rail Bridges - Click for map

This photo shows three bridges, as taken from the castle-end of Conwy suspension bridge; far left is the modern road bridge, and to the right the Conwy railway bridge. The railway bridge is a wrought iron tubular bridge built by Robert Stephenson, the only surviving example of this style as undertaken by him. Completed in 1848, it was opened in 1849. Nowadays it is reinforced by extra columns under the bridge into the river, but otherwise virtually unchanged since it was built.

Farndon Bridge - Click for map

Spanning the border between England and Wales, the Farndon Bridge crosses the River Dee between the villages of Farndon (England) and Holt (Wales). Built in 1339, this road bridge is a narrow structure of red sandstone with eight arches, of which five are over the river - one flood arch on the English side, two on the Welsh side. It is also right next to Jurassic coastline. The bridge is a Grade I listed building and is a scheduled monument.

Flintshire Bridge - Click for map

The Flintshire Bridge is the largest asymmetric cable-stayed bridge in Britain. It spans the Dee Estuary, linking Flint and Connah's Quay to the north shore of the river Dee. It is situated in a very industrial area, next to power stations and a multitude of pylons. The bridge was built at a cost of £55m, opening in 1998, and carries part of the A548.

Hawarden Bridge - Click for map

The Hawarden Bridge is a railway bridge over the River Dee, near Shotton. It was built as part of the Chester & Connah's Quay Railway, opening in 1889. The central section used to be a swing bridge - now welded shut but the rotating mechanism is still visible. Unfortunately the bridge fades into the background somewhat, dwarfed by the Flintshire Bridge, a power station and many electricity pylons. Compare historic photos of the bridge opening.

Menai Bridge - Click for map

The Menai Bridge links the Isle of Anglesey to the mainland of Wales. It was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826, one of the first modern suspension bridges in the world. Its wooden deck was replaced with steel in 1893, and the original wrought iron chains were replaced with steel in 1938.

Merthyr Tydfil A-Frame Bridge - Click for map

This footbridge, in the purple and teal colours of Merthyr Tydfil, is situated just off the A470, as the road leads downhill into Rhyd-y-Car. You can read about it in the fascinating document Merthyr Tydfil Approaches Strategy. Apologies for the overexposure on the top left - I was shooting into the sun as there weren't any vantage points on the other side.

Pont Fawr - Click for map

Pont Fawr is a narrow three-arch stone bridge in the little town of Llanrwst. Designed by Inigo Jones, it was built in 1636 by Sir John Wynn of Gwydir Castle. Next to the bridge is Tu Hwnt i'r Bont, a fifteenth century courthouse (the other side from this photo, but often pictured on postcards).

Pont Gethin - Click for map

Pont Gethin was a chance discovery as we drove south out of Conwy. It is a railway viaduct over the A470 which carries trains across the Lledr valley to and from Blaenau Ffestiniog. Built in 1879 by Owen Gethin Jones, it is now a listed building.

Second Severn Crossing - Click for map

The Second Severn Crossing carries the M4 from England to Wales and was inaugurated in 1996. It has a central cable-stayed section for shipping to pass under, and this section is known as the Shoots Bridge. This view is from the original Severn Bridge.

Severn Bridge - Click for map

The Severn Bridge was the original way to get from southwest England to Wales, carrying the M48. Opened in 1966, it is a conventional suspension bridge. Unfortunately this was the only view I had of it, as I travelled over by car.

Waterloo Bridge - Click for map

The Waterloo Bridge is on the edge of Betws-y-Coed. It's an early cast iron bridge spanning the River Conwy, built by Thomas Telford. The inscription on either side of the arch states that the bridge was constructed in the year of the Battle of Waterloo (1815). The bridge was made wholly from cast iron (apart from the stone bastions), only the seventh such bridge to be built.

If you have enjoyed the bridges, please have a look at my photography section.

This page last updated: 02 November 2009

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