Nunney’s iconic footbridge between Nunney Castle and Church Street has been closed until a replacement is installed in summer 2017.
The police closed the footbridge next to the castle in Nunney (public footpath FR 12/44) on Monday when the river was in spate.
Unfortunately a further inspection has revealed that the deck boards are collapsing under the surface materials, leaving walkers in danger of falling through.
As a result Somerset Highways have put an official closure on the footpath. The closure order is for 21 days, this will be followed by a further 21 day closure and then a 6 month closure.
The bridge has been deteriorating for some time and was due to be replaced. It is used intensively throughout the year by residents and thousands of visitors to our village.
The Parish Council examined the bridge last summer and discovered that the wooden support beams and the cross planking was beginning to rot.
After a further examination by Somerset Highways it was decided that the bridge would need to be replaced.
Fortunately for us that right of way across the river belongs to Somerset Highways and they will therefore pay for the replacement bridge.
Ken Lloyd, chairman of Nunney Parish Council, told Visit Nunney, “We have been in communication with them for some time and decided that the new bridge should be built using steel girder supports, but with wooden side fencing to fit in with the surroundings.”
“The present bridge is all wood and since wooden beams could not span the width of the river there is currently a central pier which interferes a little with the flow of the river when it is in spate.”
The new bridge will not have a central pier and may be a little higher over the river and will be a little wider than the present one.
The Parish Council has yet to agree the final design with Highways, but it will be installed in the summer of 2017.
The footpath and bridge will remain closed until the works are completed.
Somerset Highways are arranging for a contractor to come out and install suitable barriers for the duration of the closure.
The original footbridge was installed in this location at the end of the 19th century. Prior to the construction of Nunney’s stone bridge circa 1780 the main thoroughfare through Nunney ran from Horn Street down Castle Street and across a ford where the footbridge now stands and onto Church Street into Frome.