A few weeks ago, we found out about Yarm, which was once the lowest bridging point on the River Tees. Since 1771, when a bridge at Stockton, further downstream, took over as the lowest bridging point, Yarm has become just another bridge, like so many other places, on so many rivers, all over the country.
But what makes a good bridging point?
Today you can put a bridge pretty much where it is needed, but when bridges were built without the aid of modern machinery, certain sites would make the job easier.
- Flat river banks.
- Same height river bank on each side of the river.
- Firm river banks, preferably rock for good foundations.
If the river narrowed, it would be easier to span across. Alternatively, if the river widened it would be shallower, and perhaps a central island could support a longer bridge, with more than 1 arch.
Routes from several directions often converge at a bridging point making it a good place for an inn, a shop etc. Often a village develops.
Once facilities are in place, more people will come which in turn will encourage more traders. The village may grow into a market town.
Is the biggest town in your area at a bridging point?