Dorset

Repairs begin on 'Thomas Hardy novel' bridge in Dorset

Wool Bridge collapse Image copyright Dorset County Council
Image caption Cracks began to appear on Wool Bridge in January before the wall "slumped" and was washed away on Monday (right), the council said

Repair work has started on an Elizabethan bridge that features in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, after it partially collapsed.

The Grade II* listed Wool Bridge, which crosses the River Frome in Dorset, was damaged in January.

A dam has now been built in the river to allow the area around the affected section of the bridge to dry out.

Damaged and fallen stonework will then be recovered as repairs begin.

A temporary footbridge has also been created on the downstream side of the river for use during the works.

Dorset County Council said the "sympathetic" repairs would see the bridge reopen in October.

Image copyright Dorset County Council
Image caption A dam has been erected in the river to allow the area around the affected section of the bridge to dry out

The bridge has been closed to traffic for many years, but is used by pedestrians and cyclists, the county council said.

The collapse did not affect the arches of the bridge, it added.

A bridge is first recorded to have crossed the river at the same point in 1343, although Historic England said the current structure was built in the 16th Century.

It features in Tess of the D'Urbervilles due to its location next to Woolbridge Manor, the home of the D'Urberville family.

Image copyright Chris Shaw
Image caption The bridge has been closed to traffic for many years, except for pedestrians and cyclists

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