Walton – Bailey Bridge

To provide a little context, we walked over this bridge in Walton whilst on our sixth LDWA 100 training walk. It seemed a strange bridge to me, clearly something else had once been here and the current situation looked just a little temporary. The map above, which is from around 1900, shows where the bridge was and nothing much has changed with regards to its route.

This is the bridge from the Staffordshire end, looking into Derbyshire and the village of Walton.

And, this is from the Derbyshire end, looking into Staffordshire. The first bridge here wasn’t constructed until 1834, when it was a toll arrangement with a separate toll house, something which put paid to the ferry service which had operated from near here. This bridge served the needs of the locals sufficiently well, especially as it became free and the toll house was demolished in the early part of the twentieth century.

The whole arrangement worked well until the floods of 1947, when the bridge was badly damaged and became unusable. The military came along to build a temporary bridge over the top, which in turn was replaced with another temporary bridge in 1974. To cut a long story short, that bridge is still there today despite many plans to replace it.

It appears that there are a lot of breaches of the rules on weight restrictions (which is just three tonnes at any one time), which doesn’t bode well for the bridge, although it has remained standing for a long time so perhaps there’s no need for any immediate concern.

There’s a pedestrian bridge alongside the main part of the structure. The plan is that if more housing is going to be built, then this bridge will need replacing in the near future, although whether or not the council ever gets round to that is another matter…..