The Eden Viaduct, structure no. ETC/265, continues to be in the news in and around the Border City. While this curving 6-arch masonry and brick viaduct isn’t the most dramatic or spectacular, it’s attractive enough and enjoys Grade II listing. It also provided a pleasant walking route between Willowholme and Stainton, that is until its owners, BRB (Residuary), decided to securely fence it off with steel palisade railings at both ends.
We understand there are two main reasons behind this. Firstly, the stone parapets have fallen into poor condition, exacerbated by weed growth in the old mortar and the attentions of the local ned population, and the BRB(R) considers there’s a risk that people will tumble off into the fast flowing waters of the Eden. Secondly, while there are public rights of way on both sides of the river, the land IMMEDIATELY north of the bridge is privately owned, which would mean that anyone as much as stepping off the end of the structure would be trespassing (Scottish readers please remember this is England!!)
Towards the end of last year, BRB(R) applied for extended planning permission to keep the fences in place for another three years, but in December the local council only granted a twelve month extension in the hope that a solution could be found to open the bridge up again. A two-and-a-half-thousand name public petition might also have had something to do with this!!
WRHA hopes that funding can be found to repair the damage and protect the structure for the future, and that an amicable way forward can be worked out with the landowner on the north bank, thus enabling walkers and cyclists to cross again without the long detour to the main A7 bridge. The “Queen of the South Viaduct” across the Solway at Dumfries (the former Port Road viaduct over the Nith) is an example of what can be achieved when the will is there, and provides a safe walking and cycling route between two parts of that town.
We’ll post news of any further developments as we hear of them……