Barmouth Bridge Protest Ride

posted in: Campaigning

Saturday 31st October 2015.

Impressive bridge welcomes impressive protest.
Impressive bridge welcomes impressive protest.

Cyclists and walkers gathered to protest.

Despite the heavily overcast weather conditions over much of #Snowdonia (perhaps appropriate for Halloween) , a large and high spirited gathering of cyclists and walkers were out in strength on the #Mawddach estuary today at Barmouth.

They were protesting at the proposal to deny access to the rail bridge for those travelling across the estuary under their own steam.

The right of passage has existed since 1867, albeit for most of this time by payment of a small toll until recent times.

Unique location and access facility.

Widely regarded as one of the truly outstanding coastal settings in the UK, the rail bridge with its access for walking and cycling must surely be one most valued and photographed.

The Protest Ride was oganised by Sustrans , with a strong contingent of other interested groups, notably CTC in support.    The massed participation provided compelling evidence that any decision on the future of the bridge must take account of its importance not only for tourism, but also for the cultural and business life of the residential settlements in the area.

Cyclingnorthwales says:-

This is yet another early test as to whether Welsh government is seriously committed to its own Active Travel legislation. It places a responsibility and duty on local authorities to provide continuous routes for cycling and walking. In this instance the local authority is not being asked to construct a route of exceptional quality – only to maintain what already exists. It is a Grade 2 listed structure.

Opened in 1867, the history of the Barmouth Bridge, or Viaduct as it is sometimes called, can be seen on Wikipedia – this includes a commentary on why this much loved section of the thirteen thousand miles of the National Cycle Network is under such threat at this time.

You too can still protest>>>

You can still add your own name to the protest petition at:-


What the Press has to say>>

Daily Post reports:-

BBC reports


And see the video of the Ride at >>>>

Music:-  Vaughan Williams’s ‘Whither Shall I Wander?’

Related:-  December 2021  Latest work in Progress



2 Responses

  1. Dave Holladay

    This is almost the inverse of the saga of the Invershin Viaduct on the single track Highland Main Line, and has parallels world-wide which show the folly of the proposals and likely greater expense and substantially diminished safety which is likely to arise with the closure of this crossing, which will not be removed, as it forms part of the listed structure of Barmouth Viaduct.

    At Invershin a similar lengthy route (measure it via Bonar Bridge and the A road to Lairg and Tongue between Ardgay and Invershin) from Culrain Station (and Carbisdale YH) to the Invershin Hotel and local shop by Invershin Station, was avoided by walking less than 1Km across the railway viaduct. Unlike Barmouth no one had thoughtfully provided a route to walk, and so it was a serious safety issue, but with the nearest Police base miles away in Inverness, impossible to police effectively. The solution was to build a an accessible walkway in to the lattice truss, which already had an inspection walkway, so that those on foot and with cycles could cut the mileage (not dissimilar to that at Barmouth) from the trek around via bridges downstream (Bonar Bridge) and upstream (close to Ledmore Junction).

    In Seattle the I-520 freeway crosses Lake Washington on a 1-mile single carriageway viaduct. Despite a ban on cycling it was common practice to make the 1-mile illegal dash rather than the 18 mile slog around the lake shoreline. In this case , in 1978 the solution came through letting cyclists use buses that ran on routes crossing the I-520 bridge, and this became one of the first bike on bus services in the US.

    Here the solution is simple, keep the current access open, as it will prevent the inevitable costs of having fences broken down and potential use of the railway track to cross the estuary. This alone is likely to cost more than the annual fee currently paid, and the increased exposure to risks on the roads around the shore-line will equally have a value to account for. Get real be pragmatic and sort out the ways to keep this link open.

  2. Roy Spilsbury

    Thanks for this Dave. Just to let others know, your expertise on public transport has been available to CTC for many years and is widely appreciated by Cyclists Rights rep’s around the country. We have of course been in touch off-web on this matter.