Cartford Bridge: 'Driven' couple wanted as new toll-keepers

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image copyrightIan Capper/Geograph
image captionThe role of toll-keeper includes rent-free accommodation in the toll house

A "driven" couple who "must be willing to work outdoors" are wanted to be the new keepers of a rural toll bridge.

Cartford Bridge, between Little Eccleston and Out Rawcliffe in Lancashire, has been marshalled by the same family for the last 30 years.

However, owner Marcus Thickins said new keepers were needed for the bridge, which could get surprisingly busy.

"I was in charge when the M6 was blocked and we took more money in one day than we do in a week," he said.

Cartford Bridge was built across the River Wyre by the squire of Rawcliffe Hall in 1831 after both his gamekeeper and his dairyman drowned crossing the ford it would replace.

The entire Rawcliffe Hall estate was auctioned off in 1926 to pay the death duties and the Cartford Bridge Company was formed in 1929.

image copyrightIan Greig/Geograph
image captionThe bridge crosses the River Wyre at Little Eccleston in Lancashire

Mr Thickins, whose family have owned the 450ft (135m) single-track bridge over the River Wyre for six generations, said the job of toll-keeper would be at the "heart of the community".

He said two generations of the same family had served at the bridge for the last three decades, but the hunt was now on for a couple to become live-in toll bridge manager and toll bridge assistant, whose roles will see them manage a team of toll collectors.

The bridge, which carries a toll of 50p for cars and 20p for cycles and has 10mph speed limit, usually has a steady flow of users, but can become extremely busy in certain circumstances, such as when the M6 was blocked in 2018.

"We are looking for someone who is passionate, driven and service-focused, who will be able to build a relationship with the local community [and] who is not afraid of working outside," Mr Thickins said, adding: "You must be willing to work outdoors."

He said applicants also needed to have experience in preparing rotas, be computer literate and have the ability to maintain the toll house gardens, adding: "It is not the usual kind of job you would find in a job centre."

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