New Hardwick ford footbridge opens at Clumber Park

by | 4 October 2023 | Community facility, Heritage, Sherwood

Clumber Park is delighted to announce the reopening of the footbridge at Hardwick village after it was significantly damaged back in August 2020. The new wider bridge provides greater access for mobility vehicles, wheelchairs, bikes and buggies.

Clumber Park’s General Manager, Rob Holder, commented: “We are so pleased to get the bridge back open to complete this historic walk around the estate. Hardwick is said to be longest ford in Nottinghamshire, and historic maps of the area show a crossing at this location since the late 1800s. With the improvements we have made, we hope that more visitors will be able to enjoy this scenic route around Clumber Park.

“To protect the bridge, and keep visitors safe, we ask that all cyclists and horse riders dismount on their approach to the bridge, using the mounting blocks which have been installed. Cyclists should walk their bike across the bridge, and riders should walk across the bridge while leading their horse through the water.”

Constructed from oak, the bridge was crafted on the estate at Clumber Park by the National Trust In-house Specialist Crafts team. The ironwork was handmade by local blacksmiths, Mather of Tibshelf, and York-based Pinnacle Conservation Ltd was the principal contractor.

The Clumber Park team chose to build the new bridge outside nature’s busy spring months, when birds are nesting in the reeds and young eels migrate upstream.

Part of the ford also had to be dammed to direct water away whilst the work took place, making the low water levels of the summer the optimum time to manage the flow and reduce the risk of flooding.

The bridge was officially opened by Rob Holder, with the help of Jean Mackman, Hardwick village’s longest standing resident, and Phil Gray from Cabin Hill Sawmill Ltd (Clumber Park), whose family supplied the wood used to make the previous bridge. Councillor Charles Adams from Bassetlaw District Council attended the event, alongside Clumber staff and Hardwick residents.