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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Longhorse Bridge

Open at last, and what a fine bridge it is. A credit to all those who have been concerned with the planning, the design, the construction, and the installation over the last ten years.
Finding myself alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal with a few hours to spare this afternoon, I hurried along the towpath to check out the curent situation at the recently installed Longhorse Bridge which crosses the River Trent on the far side of Shardlow. Well worth the trip, in spite of getting a puncture on the way home.

Although the contractors have now left the site, the gates to the new greenway on the Shardlow side are locked, but it is possible to access the bridge by keeping on the towpath of the nearby Trent and Mersey Canal past Bridge No. 1.
It is not until you cross the new bridge that you realise, not only what a supernb stucture it is, but also how significant it will become for cyclists in providing a vital link between Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghanshire. There are many important geographical features nearby. In the background of the above photograph is the confluence of the Rivers Derwent and Trent, and alongside is the Trent and Mersey Canal. The M1 motorway crosses the Trent near Sawley and it is possible to cycle alongside the river to Sawley Marina and on to Trent Lock, where you can access the Erewash Trail, or follow the River Trent towards Nottingham.

This is a view of the deck seen from the Derbyshire side of the bridge.
 A generous 3m width allows bikes, pedestrians and horses (long horses?) to pass without conflict.
The bridge rests on four of these massive concrete foundations.

The local pigeon population will be thrilled to see the new nest sites on the underside of the bridge, although boaters passing under the bridge may not be so happy.


Clyde said...

Wonderful bridge! Great pics, Les. Thank you. I'm sorry not to have been there.

BirdyRed said...

How about a ride, pre or post Christmas? On a Saturday we could ride to the Canal Bank Tea Room in Shardlow (only open weekends), partake of sustenance, ride over the new bridge to Trent Lock and then up the Erewash Canal to (perhaps) Asda at Long Eaton for more sustenance. R6 could be the route home. We could invite Erewash (and Nottingham?) Rangers and Tony Allcock to join us - perhaps meeting us at Shardlow? Les, is that feasible?

Les Sims said...

Yes, certainly feasible, but a very long tough ride, well over 50 miles I would think. Bearing in mind the likely state of the off road sections(canal towpaths)likely to be muddy now that winter draws on, and the limited hours of daylight I would recommend omitting the Erewash section and go only as far as Trent Lock. Good cafe there.
Although quite good between Swarkeston and Weston, the towpath on the T&M Canal is mostly a single narrow rut so knobbly tyres advisable, and the path alongside the Trent between Longhorse and Shardlow is only really suitable for mountain bikes at this time of the year.

BirdyRed said...

OK. We will leave this ride until next year when maybe the linking paths are in place. Perhaps we could just do a straight run to Trent Lock and back for a meet up?