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Potter Heigham Bridge

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I’m interested in the Potter Heigham Bridge, 

i know nothing other than it’s medieval and dates back to 1385

and apart from a couple of ghost story’s that’s all I know

How long has it been sinking and at what rate ?

are there plans or even talks to stop it sinking ? 

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Is it the case that southern England has been sinking slightly and Scotland rising?  I vaguely remember watching a TV programme ages ago which put forward the theory that this was really happening, and that it was due to a delayed reaction to the melting of the ice that had covered the northern half of the country in the last ice age.  

Of course, I may be dreaming!

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20 minutes ago, TheQ said:

Personnally I doubt the bridge is sinking, Boats are getting very much bigger and the sea level is rising (and has been since the last ice age)

Ahh good point, I had not considered global warming 

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I read somewhere many years ago that the bridge was sinking 

due to the heavy trucks passing over it, hence the bypass road.

Also, there is an element of global warming..........(Despite recent

reports that it is in fact not warming at the staggering rate we

were told) but the sea levels are rising albeit slowly.

This is how it used to be back in the 60's.

(A recent photo by-the-way!)

P3220041 - Copy.JPG

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I believe it's one of only two listed bridges on the Broads network. The other is the old bridge on the canal section between  Coltishall and Buxton

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When I first came  up to the broads in the sixties most boats got under.As others said boats were lower then.At that time there was not the new bridge (bypass)and mow there's traffic lights allowing only way at a time.I think the bridge as dropped a little. In answer to your question,regarding the history of the bridge I suggest you PM Adamsgirl she may be able to help.it would then be interesting if we know.

Ian 

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Nowt to do with PH bridge but there was a bridge over well creek on the middle levels near nordelph that had a loaded cement mixer break down on it and sit there overnight, the bridge sunk by several feet overnight and had to be demolished very shortly after, last time I was in the area there was a bailey bridge there.

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Archaeologists hat on here....cracks whip.
Potter Heigham Bridge, or to give its correct name Repps Bridge, is not sinking. Maurice Mynah has hit the nail firmly on the head.

15 hours ago, MauriceMynah said:

Or it could just be that the whole area from the Pleasure boat Hickling to Gt. Yarmouth needs a thorough dredging.

A conversation with Gordon at Martham earlier this year gave me his, all be it anecdotal but I would trust his knowledge, evidence that lack of dredging was resulting in lower bridge clearances. Of course, there is the most recent structural report carried out on the bridge and its foundations, held at the County Records Office, which is available in digital format here. The report states 'Previous investigation of river bed levels shows a marked reduction in depth and flow area at the bridge.'

The earliest documented history of the bridge comes from Norfolk Antiquarian Francis Blomefield (1705-1752) who tells us that a bridge at Repps was broken down by Henry III in 1268. If you look at the bridge the two pointed side arches they are of a different and earlier design than the central span.

Following the flood of 1622 it was proposed that the causeway to Potter Heigham Bridge be raised as a flood bank and allow the 'embayment' of the Upper Thurne. This was once again proposed, 'egged' on by the RSPB', by Natural England in 2008 and thankfully after much protest, it was decided that 'embayment would not be countenanced'. 

In the 1920's the bridge underwent some intensive restoration. Over the years there have been many suggestions that the bridge is demolished. In the early 1950's Norfolk Highway Committee planned on demolishing the bridge prompting this fantastic letter of objection from Sidney Grapes.
"This here oul bridge she act as a sorter damper tew tha' tides. Teark har away, an shuv a new 'un up, an yow'll fine as how yow'll have Hicklen flooded all winter, an in tha summer, there ount be enuff water ter float a little butt, let alone a big 'un!"

With the closure of the railway in 1959 the old bridge was saved when the main road was routed along the track.

In my research this morning I found a wonderous quote for Jenny Morgan. When a National Park was proposed and the proposal unceremoniously thrown out 1945-1947 as unsuitable for the Broads, James Wentworth Day (East Anglian Conservative MP, writer and editor of 'The Field' and 'Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News') made this prophetic statement in regards to the Broads as a National Park.
"the insidious beginning of land-nationalisation, it's only addition to the fauna of Broadland...a new race of rats...bureaucrats!"  

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So it really is a lack of dredging that is the problem. It is probably a good thing to keep some of the larger boats away from the upper reaches of the Thurne but it's getting to the point that only dinghies and canoes will get under Potter bridge! I suppose that's what the BA have in mind anyway, well JP most certainly. :default_sad:

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I think that if your air draft is 6ft or less then you are usually ok. We took Juliette through (with the Martham pilot) a couple of weeks ago at 5ft 10" which was, to say the least, close !!

Of the larger hire boats based t'other side of the bridge my understanding is that the old Connoisseur cruisers are amongst the easiest/least difficult at ~ 6ft 6".

Best wishes

Charles

 

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I have really good video footage of Geoffrey (Martham pilot) taking Juliette through at pace but it's on WhatsApp and I am not exactly Bill Gates so I don't know how to put it on here !! I'll ask one of my sons......

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I recall several times paddling a Martham Boat half-decker under that bridge!  Early 1970s probably.

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I have a book on lost railways of Norfolk and it shows an intact but boarded up Catfield station in 1965. So the bridge / course of the railway had not been turned into the A149 by then. Unfortunately that's the youngest picture on this section of line.

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Timbo, love the link between 1622 and 2008.  Just love history! 

On a complete tangent, my Nain (Gran) who was a seamstress, as was her mother, used to say frequently that 'the wheels of fashion turn'.  I found this in the seventies when a lot of the patterns of women's suits and dresses etc. in Vogue pattern mag were a similar shape to the suits my Mam had worn in the 40s.  The wheels are still turning, and not just for fashion.  There are whole trends out there in political, artistic and philosophical (etc.) opinion that are like tides, which ebb and flow. Is that encouraging or scarey?

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