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Repairs to Tarr Steps bridge swept away in Exmoor floods to cost thousands

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

  • Walkers on what remains of the Tarr Steps on Exmoor

  • The Tarr Steps pictured in 2006

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Exmoor's historic Tarr Steps bridge is in line to be rebuilt after being swept away in the floods, but repairs are likely to cost thousands of pounds.

Somerset County Council is working with English Heritage and Exmoor National Authority to rebuild the 1,000-year-old clapper bridge – a well-known landmark which crosses the fast-flowing River Barle between Withypool and Dulverton.

So strong was the force of water washing down the deep Exmoor valley that the twin steel hawsers designed to protect the bridge were snapped by massive trees being swept downstream in the flood.

All the massive slabs incorporated into the 17-span bridge have been numbered so that they can be retrieved and put back in exactly the right place.

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Several footpaths and bridleways in the area have been also badly affected by fallen trees, small landslips and surfaces being washed away.

Exmoor National Authority said the repairs to the bridge, and the rights of way network across the park, will cost more than the funding available each year to maintain public paths.

Dan James, sustainable economy officer at the National Park said: “For residents and visitors alike, the path network is an important part of enjoying Exmoor National Park and we are keen to get things back to normal as soon as possible.

"If anyone would like to support us they can send a donation, however large or small, in the form of a cheque payable to ‘Exmoor National Park (CareMoor)’ and send to us at Exmoor House, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9HL.

“We hope to make online donations possible very shortly. Businesses can participate too, either through a one off donation, or helping to raise funds from their customers through a variety of different methods.”

For further information, visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/exmoor-floods.

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