A PICTURESQUE landmark which was lost to decay and rotting in the late 19th Century is set to return to the grounds of a mansion house near Malvern in a £200,000 project.
The ‘Chinese Bridge’ will once again feature at Croome Court under a new design after an absence of more than a 100 years thanks to generous funding.
Originally designed by William Halfpenny in the 1740s for the 6th Earl of Coventry in the popular Chinese style, the bridge spanned the river close to Croome Court and linked the house to the wider parkland. But the bridge is understood to have been in ruin only 100 years after it was built.
Funding worth £200,000 from the Monument 85 Fund – a trust which was set up by the late Simon Sainsbury to fund restoration work at National Trust parklands – has enabled plans to get underway for a reconstruction of the bridge by the Croome team.
The new bridge will be built using English Oak by next Spring and left for a year to settle and allow the traditionally made joints to tighten.
Katherine Alkar, garden and park manager at Croome, said: “We are really looking forward to the new bridge being in place.
“Being such a key component of the Croome landscape it will have a dramatic impact on the views around the parkland and will be a dramatic addition to visitors crossing the river.”
Dredging of the river last year unearthed large pieces of the original bridge and archaeological research has shown the original footings so the exact location of the bridge is now known.
It means an exact replacement could be created and images of the historic bridge were needed to guide the new design. Alongside the original plans drawn up by Halfpenny this enabled the team to work up a design which followed the original bridge as much as possible.
Visitors can now see a side section of the proposed bridge, which has been installed and situated by the riverside close to Croome Court.