Wycoller: Ancient Bridges

© Craven & Pendle Geological Society

Clam Bridge

Clam Bridge lies part way along the Bronte way - a interesting walk from Wycoller Village towards Haworth. It is a unique single-span bridge crossing the banks of the beck. You can see from the photograph the the bridge rests precariously on the edge of a natural rock outcrop. Yvonne is standing on a system of huge balance stones that support the main Clam bridge. Clam Bridge is believed to be the oldest bridge in the Wycoller area- perhaps dating back to Bronze-Age times. Perhaps as old as Stonehenge!

Clapper Bridge lies within close proximity of the Packhorse Bridge. There has been a great deal of debate on the reasons for having two ancient bridges so close together. One source of reasoning suggests that Clapper Bridge was built to solve some demarcation dispute over rights-of-way.

Clapper Bridge

Historically, the Clapper Bridge suffered much wear & tear from the abrasion of iron-shod hooves. As such, one of the Clapper stones broke and had to be supported by the central pile of rocks in the bed of the beck.

The splendid double-arched Packhorse Bridge spans Wycoller Beck. You may notice from the photograph that the left hand arch is more asymmetrical. This was believed to have been deliberately constructed in this manner so as to make use of the bedrock as a firm abutment.

Pack Horse Bridge

The bridge is believed to have been built by monks of the Cisterian Order who controlled several abbeys on this side of the Pennines. Care must be taken when crossing the bridges as visitors have polished the rock on which the brides are made!