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Lancashire At

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Bishopthorpe / Naburn rail bridge

Bishopthorpe, North Yorkshire. A disused railway bridge over the River Ouse - with some interesting additional bits of concrete at either end.....One can only assume that this was deemed an extremely important bridge in need of defence if there was an invasion.


Should the invasion have come in the early years of the war, and it seemed a matter of when not if, these simple defences probably would have formed part of a larger Stop Line. This bridge is now part of a pleasant cycle path and footpath but it previously housed a railtrack. The bridge is the Naburn rail bridge which carried the York to Selby railway.


But this bridge has some nice history of its own pre-WW2, it is in fact a swing bridge built in 1871 which could swing open to allow tall sail ships passage.

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On the bridge there is a magnificent modern sculpture.

This replaced the original cabin that controlled the swing bridge.


"As part of the Millennium celebrations, local artist Pete Rogers was asked to design a sculpture to sit in its place. Three options were put to a public vote - the clear winner being the 'Fisher of Dreams'. It was installed on the bridge in August 2001".

At the East end of the bridge are there two loopholed walls.

Above Left: South East - unpainted, but damaged, an embrasure and its associated low wall have now gone.

Above Right: North East - painted white in recent years, but otherwise intact.

At the West end of the bridge are there is only one loopholed wall.

Above Left: North West - This new art installation is practical and nice to look at, but hides the earlier World War Two reason for some of these walls. New walls (and seats) have been added, but beneath them is the same structure seen at the North East of the bridge.

Above Right: A look at the same structure from below the trackbed, and what do we see?: Three blocked up loopholes/embrasures. This photo also shows the Second World War butted up against the Victorian.

Above Left: The South West part of the bridge, strangely, has no loopholes/embrasures added on to the original structure. I wonder why - is there no target in view?

Above Right: The River Ouse seen from Naburn swing bridge.

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