Flock of sheep help mark historic moment for Pooley Bridge as new crossing finally opens

A flock of sheep were the first traffic across a new multi-million pound bridge which opened today, five years after the original one was destroyed by Storm Desmond.

The new steel structure, linking the two sides of Pooley Bridge on Ullswater, replaced the original 250-year-old stone bridge that was washed away in 2015. The village was cut off from one of the main roads in the Lake District and

The crossing is the first of its kind in the country. The bridge was designed as a single span structure to avoid the need for piers in the river, thereby reducing the flood risk and making the structure more flood resilient. 

The structure replaces a 250-year-old bridge washed away during Storm Desmond in 2015. Credit: Cumbria County Council

Opening the new crossing was done in true Cumbrian fashion - with a flock of 150 sheep herded across the bridge by a local farmer for the first time in five years.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Pooley Bridge’s new bridge is officially open to the public.

"The council has been working hard to repair the widespread damage to our highways following Storm Desmond and this is one of the last major projects.

“I’d like to thank all our contractors for creating a fantastic new structure, and I’d also like to thank the local community in Pooley Bridge who have worked with us through the design stages and throughout the construction.

"I know they’ve had a lot to put up with, but we now have an iconic new bridge to be very proud of and which will attract many visitors in the years to come."