East Woodburn Bridge


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
800 metres north-east of West Woodburn, Hexham, Northumberland


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
800 metres north-east of West Woodburn, Hexham, Northumberland
Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Masonry bridge, early C18 and partially rebuilt in 1832.

Reasons for Designation

East Woodburn Bridge, of 1832, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* an unaltered early-C19 bridge that falls within the period when most bridges are listed; * an elegant bridge with an impressive, wide basket arch that demonstrates skill and ambition in its design; * it is an intact structure that retains the stone-built western approach of its predecessor an early-C18 packhorse bridge.

Historic interest:

* situated on a historic droving route it illustrates the significance of cattle droving between England and Scotland, and the development of early infrastructure in a pre-motorised age.


Droving, by which large numbers of sheep and cattle were moved over long distances, has been an important aspect of Northumberland for over a thousand years. Numerous route ways and associated features remain as important elements of the landscape. One such route was a drove road between Scotland and England which loosely followed the course of the Roman road Dere Street. Woodburn Old Bridge (now East Woodburn Bridge) was constructed in the early C18 to carry this drove road across the River Rede; a partly legible inscription at the west end of the bridge approach reads 1715 or 1735. The bridge is published in John Hodgson's 1827 History of Northumberland, accompanied by an illustration by Edward Swinburne entitled 'on the drift way for Black Cattle from Scotland'. The bridge is depicted as a tall, pack-horse bridge with a straight western approach. This bridge was replaced in the early C19 by a shallow basket arch bridge, and the early-C18 approach road was retained. The rebuilt bridge bears a date stone of 1832.


Masonry bridge, early C18 and partially rebuilt 1832.

MATERIALS: dressed and rusticated sandstone to the bridge; rougher sandstone blocks to the western approach.

PLAN: a single-span bridge with western approach incorporating a flood arch.

DESCRIPTION: a basket-arch bridge carrying a former drove road across the River Rede. The shallow, wide arch springs from short imposts and has rusticated voussoirs and a slightly projecting, narrow key stone, below a rusticated, moulded string course. The arch is defined by stepped piers with saddle cap stones, and the low parapet has shallower, but similar coping stones. One of the faces of the parapet bears an inscription within a cartouche reading: ERECTED/?/COUNTY/1832. The eastern end of the bridge has a curving wing wall, and the western end has an earlier, straight approach incorporating a smaller, round flood-arch with springers. A faint engraving on the western end of the approach is reported to read 1715 or 1735.


Books and journals
Hodgson, J, History of Northumberland Volume 2, (1827), 167
Roberts, I , Carlton, R , Rushworth, A, Drove Roads of Northumberland, (2010), 120-127


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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