An historic footbridge over the River Tees has reopened following a short closure for repairs.
The Wynch Bridge near Low Force waterfall in Teesdale has been repaired by engineers from Durham County Council and reopened this week.
The suspension bridge is a popular attraction at Low Force, and allows walkers to access a stretch of the Pennine Way National Trail from the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Bowlees Visitor Centre up to High Force.
Dating from 1830, the current bridge was a replacement for one which collapsed in 1802 that gave lead miners from Holwick access over the river to work in lead mines on the north side of Teesdale.
Earlier this month a routine inspection of the bridge found that suspension hangers were in need of repair. New steel brackets have now been manufactured and fitted to the crossing, allowing it to reopen
Some further work will be taking place at the bridge later this week, although it will remain open throughout.
Brian Buckley, the council’s strategic highways manager, said: “We recognise the importance of this historic bridge and we’ve taken steps to repair it as quickly as possible.
“In the interests of preventing further closures we would please ask that all users adhere to the restrictions displayed at each end of the bridge and do not hang from or stand on its wires ropes. People should also note that use of the bridge for undertaking water related activities is strictly prohibited.”
Simon Wilson, from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “We’re extremely pleased to have the bridge reopened, restoring access to this very popular walk. It is such an iconic and well-loved structure and it is a popular entry point to a very spectacular part of the Pennine Way.
“This is a favourite spot for visitors to upper Teesdale.”
The council will be developing a scheme to fully refurbish the bridge and will carry out the work when sufficient funding is available.