Historic bridge gets a facelift

White Bridge, Alfriston
White Bridge, Alfriston
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A grand total of £45,000 will be spent on refurbishing the iconic White Bridge on the River Cuckmere in Alfriston.

East Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Authority are investing the money to carry out essential structural repairs on the bridge, which is an important access point for locals as well as walkers using the South Downs Way .

The work, starting on Monday (June 2), is scheduled to last about six weeks.

It will involve replacing wooden decking and side rails, as well as repainting the side rails and metal beams.

East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport and environment, cllr Carl Maynard said: “White Bridge is a key link in one of the most important walking routes through East Sussex, so it is vital that it is maintained in a state which keeps it safe for people to cross.

“While we will have to close the bridge for a short period, we would ask people to bear with us while this essential work is carried out, which will ensure people can continue to use the bridge, and enjoy the beautiful setting it runs through, for years to come.”

Walkers will be able to cross the river via a temporary bridge which is to be built alongside scaffolding for the repair works, however there will be no access across the bridge for around two weeks while the scaffolding is being put up.

There will also be a short closure of the bridge once the refurbishment has been completed so the scaffolding can be safely removed.

The repair work has been timed to avoid the winter months, when the river is at risk of flooding, and to minimise impact on wildlife, particularly eels and fish which use it as a migratory route.

Signs are being put up around the bridge, including maps showing diversion routes.

The village is a tourist hot spot, with its medieval houses, tourist attractions such as Drusillas and the Clergy House, as well as restaurants.

In Saxon times the village was called Aelfrictun.

The South Downs Way intersects the village, which attracts walkers and mountain bikers to the area.

Flowing under the bridge is the River Cuckmere, which rises in Heathfield and finishes at Cuckmere Haven, where it displays its much photographed meanders.

The South Downs Way is a 160km long National Trail which stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne, taking in beautiful scenery.

Updates will be posted on the rights of way section of the county council website at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/rightsofway