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Packhorse Bridge at Caergwrle

Published: 14/08/2015

Flintshire County Council has taken steps to preserve a valued ancient monument which has been vandalised. When Caergwrle’s Councillor Dave Healey discovered that the Packhorse Bridge had been vandalised he contacted Streetscene immediately. He said:: “Coping stones had been removed from the walls and thrown into the River Alyn. I also drew attention to the trees that were rooted in the walls, causing structural damage to the bridge. Streetscene moved into action very quickly.” Caergwrle’s Packhorse Bridge suffered considerable damage during severe flooding in November 2000. The archways had become silted up and trees, rooted in the bridge at the time, caused it to weaken. When the floods came the whole bridge gave way. On that occasion the then Welsh Assembly and Flintshire Country Council paid £100,000 for the monument to be repaired. Councillor Bernie Attridge, Cabinet member for the Environment said: “Prevention is better and more cost-effective than cure. I am pleased that we have been able to work to preserve this important part of Flintshire’s heritage.” The Packhorse Bridge dates from the mid-seventeenth century and is associated with Squire Ellis Yonge of Bryn Iorcyn Manor. It incorporates seven arches to reduce the impact of the flow of the River Alyn during periods of flooding. Packhorse bridges were generally of a narrow construction and the Caergwrle example has two triangular recesses in the parapet walls, for pedestrians who might meet a packhorse train whilst crossing the bridge. The low parapets were intended to allow the passage of bulging packs slung on each side of the mules and packhorses. It is probably the oldest bridge to span the River Alyn and is one of the finest examples of its type in Wales. The Streetscene team acted quickly to recover the missing stones from the River Alyn and put them back into place. They removed the trees that were causing structural damage and took a large amount of weed and silt from beneath the blocked archways. They have completely exposed an archway that had virtually disappeared and have opened up another channel for the river to prevent further damage by flooding. Councillor Healey added: “Local people have been very appreciative of the work done on Caergwrle’s Packhorse Bridge with some saying they have never seen it looking so good. Caergwrle Castle and the Packhorse Bridge are two much-valued features of the local heritage.”