Two stories of Reeth Swing Bridge

The new Reeth Swing Bridge looking towards Harkerside.

The new Reeth Swing Bridge looking towards Harkerside.

Almost everyone who enjoys walking around the Reeth area in Swaledale will know of the footbridge over the River Swale, known locally as Reeth Swing Bridge or sometimes as Harkerside Swing Bridge since it links these two communities. Two stories of interest relate to this structure.

The first unravels a puzzle – why it’s called the swing bridge, when it’s a fixed-span suspension bridge? To learn why, read here: Doesn’t swing? Oh yes it does!

The second story searches behind a phrase on the information board next to the bridge, which explains that the predecessor of the current structure was built in 1920 ‘after the community helped raise the money to connect the parishes of Grinton and Reeth’. In fact, nearly 100 years ago the community did a lot more than help fund the bridge, and a mix-up over a deal with the council left a handful of Harkerside farmers who provided the money feeling unhappy. For this story, read here: How the original Reeth Swing Bridge left farmers paying more than they planned.


About Will Swales

Amateur historian with a special interest in Swaledale, Yorkshire.
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