Dinham Bridge

Evening view, with Jude doing the Shropshire Lad XX thing. She’ll kill me if she realizes I’ve included her in the shot.

dinham bridge 2

Oh fair enough are sky and plain,
  But I know fairer far:
Those are as beautiful again
  That in the water are;

The pools and rivers wash so clean 
  The trees and clouds and air,
The like on earth has never seen,
  And oh that I were there.

These are the thoughts I often think
  As I stand gazing down
In act upon the cressy brink
  To strip and dive and drown;

But in the golden-sanded brooks
  And azure meres I spy
A silly lad that longs and looks
  And wishes he were I.

dinham bridge

The second shot is from the castle (actually, the footpath just below the castle walls). Not much of the bridge is visible because of the luxuriant and very tall rosebay willowherb. In the US, it’s usually called fireweed, probably because of its ability to quickly re-colonize damaged habitat. My father – a Great Western man all his life, even after Britain’s railways were nationalized – used to call it railway weed, because it’s so often seen alongside railway tracks. And in fact, having travelled between Ludlow and Shrewsbury on the train yesterday, I can confirm that it’s growing in abundance all along that route. More formally, it’s called Chamerion angustifolium.

Dinham Bridge was competed in 1823, to the design of John Straphen of Shrewsbury. For many years it was referred to as the New Bridge, to differentiate from the much older bridge it replaced. It’s pretty new compared to Ludford Bridge, too, which is 15th century or earlier. However, the old bridge at Dinham may have been even older, dating back almost to the first years of Ludlow’s existence. The modern bridge over the Corve, Ludlow’s other river, replaces a bridge probably built in 1787 that collapsed in 2007 when the Corve flooded.

David Harley

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