Drawing 208: Packhorse bridge, Wet Sleddale

Direction of view: WSW

Notes: Trees have spread in the foreground, so this now needs to be taken when the leaves are off. This view of the bridge appears on page 389 of Westmorland Heritage, and on page 245 of The Outlying Fells of Lakeland.  The drawing in Westmorland Heritage is a slightly trimmed version of the original sketch.

Comments: I visited this scene to get the photograph on 20th January 2014, a cloudy afternoon after a very cloudy morning.  Wet Sleddale lived up to its name in terms of the underfoot conditions: in the poetical words of Ted Hughes, the land was “sodden as the bed of an ancient lake, treed with iron, and birdless”.  After taking this photo, I set off upstream, in search of the deer enclosure (see 284).

Wainwright congratulates Manchester Corporation Waterworks “on having re-erected, stone by stone, higher up the valley, a packhorse bridge doomed by the engulfing waters of their new reservoir.  This must be the first packhorse bridge built in Lakeland for two centuries!”