Sunday, 29 April 2018
Aldwark Toll Bridge
On an outing with friends to yet another National Trust property near York (more of which tomorrow) we had to cross the River Ure on a 240+ year old toll bridge! It avoids a detour of about 25 miles and for the payment of a toll of 40p, that seems well worth the saving in time and money. Private toll bridges and roads are uncommon in Britain nowadays, though at one time most roads were toll roads and you can sometimes spot the little buildings that used to be toll houses. The first bridge at Aldwark was built by John Thomson. He used to operate a rowing boat ferry across the river but it proved dangerous so he rode to London to obtain an Act of Parliament in 1772 that enabled him to build the bridge and collect tolls. The original bridge was damaged - by an iceberg! - in the 19th century so the existing bridge was built, of iron with a hardwood deck. It makes an amazing rumble as you drive over! I didn't know about the bridge in advance and just hopped out of the car quickly to snap a photo. (It was very narrow so not really suitable to stop.) The treasures in this lovely country of ours never fail to amaze me!