West Luccombe packhorse bridge
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006227
Date first listed: 16-Feb-1926
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park: EXMOOR
National Grid Reference: SS 89886 46119
Single span bridge called West Luccombe Packhorse Bridge.
Reasons for Designation
Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Medieval and early post-medieval single span bridges are structures designed to carry a road or track over a river by means of a single arch, typically 3m- 6m in span. They were constructed throughout the medieval period, most commonly using timber. Stone began to be used instead of timber in the 12th century and became increasingly common in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many medieval bridges were repaired, modified or extensively rebuilt in the post- medieval period. During the medieval period the construction and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by large estates and the Church, especially monastic institutions which developed long distance packhorse routes between their landholdings. Some stone built medieval bridges still survive. These can be classified into three main types based on the profile of the arch which is typically pointed, semi-circular or flattened. A common medieval feature is the presence of stone ashlar ribs underneath the arch. The bridge abutments and revetting of the river banks also form part of the bridge. Where medieval bridges have been altered in later centuries, original features are sometimes concealed behind later stonework, including remains of earlier timber bridges. Bridges were common and important features of medieval towns and the countryside and allowed easy access along a well developed road and track-way system. However, only around 16 largely unaltered medieval single span bridges have so far been recognised to survive in England. All these are considered to be of national importance. A larger number retain significant medieval or post-medieval remains, allowing the original form of the bridge to be determined. These examples are also nationally important. The single span bridge called West Luccombe Packhorse Bridge survives well retaining many of its original features and its form. It is popular with visitors, which has caused some erosion.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 21 July 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a single span bridge crossing the Horner Water in the settlement of West Luccombe. The bridge survives as a single span stone built pointed arched structure with saddleback coping on the parapets, splayed abutments and a cobbled carriageway which measures up to 1m wide and 7m long. The bridge dates to the late medieval period and although it has been restored over the years retains its original form and features. A 19th century bridge nearby carries vehicular traffic so the packhorse bridge is for pedestrian use only.
The bridge is Listed Grade II*.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SO 29
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-35855
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing