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Ancient Tarr Steps smashed by severe weather - again!

By WMNlynbarton  |  Posted: November 04, 2013

  • The Tarr Steps before they were repaired

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A wave of appalling weather has washed away part of one of Britain's oldest bridges just months after it was rebuilt at a cost £10,000.

Torrential rain and gale force winds which struck parts of the Westcountry at the weekend also caused a section of the South West Coast Path to crumble in Cornwall.

The damage comes as the region is recovering from the St Jude’s storm a week ago and bracing itself for the week ahead which forecasters say will bring more wet weather.

In Exmoor, the ancient 180ft Tarr Steps clapper bridge, situated on the River Barle in was destroyed by a 10ft wall of flood water in December 2012.

However each two-tonne step had been marked in the event the Grade I listed structure was damaged so engineers were able to piece them back together in February.

But the bridge will need fresh repairs again after a large section was washed away by flash floods over the weekend.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said the bridge, which according to legend was favoured by the Devil for sunbathing, had been damaged, but not as badly as last year.

“The recent storms caused considerable damage across the county, including to part of the bridge at Tarr Steps,” he said.

“The Steps are a scheduled ancient monument and were extensively damaged last year, however Somerset County Council in conjunction with Exmoor National Park and English Heritage carried out repairs.

“The Steps have historically been at risk in severe weather and last week’s storm was one of the worst in decades.

“The damage this time was restricted to a small area of the bridge itself, leaving most of the structure untouched.”

The spokesman said that a boom placed upriver appeared to have done its job and slowed the flow of debris, which had protected the ancient structure.

“We are now assessing the site and will look to retrieve the missing parts and repair the bridge as soon as possible, subject to weather conditions and securing the various consents necessary due to the structure’s historic importance,” he added.

Meanwhile near Camborne in Cornwall, a 100 metre section of the South West Coast Path gave way after being hit by heavy rain.

The path, near Basset's Cove at North Cliffs, was closed off although Cornwall Council said they hoped to have a diversion in place by tomorrow.

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  • Pink_Diesel  |  November 04 2013, 11:46PM

    You just can't get a good builder these days.....