Drawing 42: Birks Bridge, Duddon Valley

Direction of view: N

Notes: The bridge is 200m downstream from the Forestry “Birks Bridge” car park.  It is easiest to walk back down the road to it.

This scene also appears on page Harter Fell 1 in The Southern Fells, page 159 of Wainwright in Lakeland, and as sketch 41 in A Furness Sketchbook.  The Furness sketch is subtly different in a number of ways to the sketchbook one, and is arguably a stronger image.  The photograph from which this sketch was drawn is in the County Archives at Kendal, reference WDAW/4/1/1/1/9.

Comments: I first took this image on slide film on 10th January 1981, on a day out from Carlisle with Peter Messenger.  We got this sketch and several from the Furness Sketchbooks, before heading off for an ascent of Great Worm Crag.

My picture for the digital project was taken on Sunday 22nd May 2016.  Anne Setright and I were at the start of a week’s holiday, staying in Lane End Cottage at Boot.  The weather was excellent, and we drove over the Birker Fell Road to the Duddon Valley.  I was recovering from a broken ankle, so this was my first sketch for some time, and I took great care on the steep rocks near the bridge.  There is less greenery now, and the conifers have gone.

The bridge was probably built as a packhorse bridge in the 18th century, and it is a listed building.  The bridge takes its name from the hamlet of Birks, between Seathwaite and Cockley Beck.  An interesting feature is the drain holes built into the parapets.