See stunning pictures of Constable Country's Fen Bridge being removed

The Fen Bridge being lifted out of the River Stour near East Bergholt and Dedham

The Fen Bridge being lifted out of the River Stour near East Bergholt and Dedham - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

A Suffolk beauty spot has had its footbridge removed over the River Stour near Flatford - but it is hoped a new one will be installed this year. 

The Fen Bridge being airlifted out of the River Stour near East Bergholt and Dedham

The Fen Bridge just out of the River Stour - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

Fen Bridge in the Dedham Vale has been a crossing on the Stour for centuries as part of the public footpath network and an earlier bridge was used by painter John Constable as part of his route to school.

The current bridge which links Dedham and East Bergholt was removed by crane by Suffolk County Council on Wednesday.

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Heavy rainfall during Storm Barra in December delayed works to the Fen Bridge, which has been closed to pedestrians and river traffic since June 2020, and it's hoped 2022 will be the year it finally reopens.  

A crane securing the Fen Bridge by the River Stour.

A crane securing the Fen Bridge by the River Stour. - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

East Bergholt parish councillor John Price said it has been "disappointing" for the works to have taken place for so long. 

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mr Price added: "It's been a loss of a community asset. 

A crane about to be lifted out of the Fen Bridge by the River Stour.

A crane about to be lifted out of the Fen Bridge by the River Stour. - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

"People have been very understanding of it so far."

He also voiced concerns that the new bridge would not be disabled-friendly as it could have steps but was "glad" something is starting to happen. 

The removal of Fen Bridge, in between Flatford and Dedham, has been delayed due to storm Barra

The old Fen Bridge - Credit: Suffolk Highways

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The bridge is regularly used by visitors for a circular walk around the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Dedham Vale. 

And since the closure, the longer route through Flatford has been used instead to do the walk . 

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Dedham Vale is a Natonal Trust area. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: "The navigation on the River should be re-opened by the end of next week.  

"We are in the process of removing the temporary works that were required to facilitate the removal of the bridge and plan to be off-site before the end of the month.

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

One of the footbridges open in the Dedham Vale. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"We will continue to provide updates on the installation of the new bridge, as these become available."

Lifting the bridge into place Picture: DAVID KINDRED

Lifting the bridge into place Picture: DAVID KINDRED - Credit: DAVID KINDRED

This is the second time the bridge has been replaced since its collapse in the 1930s when £14,000 was spent to replace it in 1985, according to the East Bergholt Society. 

An RAF Chinook helicopter during that time had to airlift the bridge into place.

The crane is by the banks trying to get the Fen Bridge out. 

The crane is by the banks trying to get the Fen Bridge out. - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

 

The alternative route for pedestrians is as follows:

• From East Bergholt and Flatford (northern side) footpath 30, footpath 32, footpath 34, footpath 47, Flatford Road, footpath 44 and no vice versa.

The crane is by the banks trying to get the Fen Bridge out. 

The crane is by the banks trying to get the Fen Bridge out. - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

• From Dedham (southern side) footpath 44, footpath 17, Mill Lane, footpath 29, footpath 49 and no vice versa.

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