Lydbrook Rail Bridge (known locally as Stowfield Viaduct or the Black Bridge) is a 19th century former railway structure which spans the River Wye. The footpath across it has been closed due to the danger to the public.
The bridge has a central section which was formerly a rail line (now redundant) with a wooden footpath resting across the beams.
The footpath was closed early in 2016 due to the identification of significant defects. The structure is jointly owned by Herefordshire Council (HCC) and Gloucestershire County Councils, however, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) are the lead authority for this bridge. GCC commissioned a specialist independent contractor to carry a full inspection of the bridge. The inspection report confirmed sections of the bridge are in poor condition and extensive repairs were recommended.
Due to the serious concerns over pedestrian safety the bridge has been closed. Fences have been erected to prevent access. HCC & GCC have requested that people do not attempt to cross the bridge or damage the surrounding infrastructure.
Unfortunately there have been instances where the fencing has been damaged and the public have ignored the closure. This is a serious danger due to the defects in the footpath and the parapets, for example the loss of section in the supporting beams, holes in the wood bridge deck and the loss of parapet sections (see photos).
A Feasibility Report identifying possible options available to resolve the issues at the bridge is available on the right hand side of this page.