Friday, October 23, 2015

Stainforth packhorse bridge

click photo to enlarge
As I travel about the country I periodically come upon a packhorse bridge. A while ago I posted about the example at West Rasen in Lincolnshire. I've seen a couple more since then. In our recent trip to the Yorkshire Dales we had a walk that took me back to the first packhorse bridge I ever saw, one I became very familiar as I grew up in the area.

Stainforth packhorse bridge spans the River Ribble at a point between Knight Stainforth and Stainforth. The river is rocky here and often quite turbulent after heavy rain. The arch that the builders erected is long as such bridges go - 57 feet (17.4 metres) - and much more elegant than most. But, it still has the characteristic low walls on each side of the roadway to allow heavily laden horses with their pannier packs to cross easily. This stone example was built by a prominent Quaker, Samuel Watson (c.1618-1708), owner and builder of Knight Stainforth Hall (1672). It apparently replaced a wooden bridge which itself supplanted a ford. The name "Stainforth" means "stony ford". The bridge is on a route between Lancaster and Ripon, that crosses the Pennine uplands. Packhorses would have negotiated this route more readily than horse-drawn carts and waggons.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 22mm (44mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3
Image Stabilisation: On