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Conwy Suspension Bridge

Conwy Suspension Bridge - Overview

Thomas Telford’s suspension bridge, built between 1822 and 1826 to carry the London - Holyhead Road across the river Conwy, is one of the oldest of its kind still in existence to date. The bridge measures 99.5m in length, with a road deck suspended from on two sets of fours chains from two battlemented towers. In designing his bridge, Thomas Telford took inspiration from the adjacent Conwy Castle and town walls so that the modern bridge would blend in harmoniously with the Norman architecture dominating the site. The bridge keeper’s single-room lodge likewise copies the Norman style of the castle. Before granting passage, this keeper would collect a toll stipulated by the mode of travel on foot, horse or in a carriage. The original wooden deck was replaced by an iron roadway in 1896, and in 1904 a pedestrian walkway was temporarily added to the north side of the bridge.

Whereas the bridge formerly allowed horse carriages safe passage across the river, since the building of the new road bridge in 1958 it has been used only for pedestrian traffic. In 1965 it came under the care of the National Trust, and in 1981 the Toll Keepers cottage was listed as Grade I by Cadw.

Travelling through Wales shortly after the suspension bridge was finished, its elegant design reminded the French writer Basil-Joseph Ducos of fishing nets hung up to dry in the wind and he felt quite transported into a fairy tale.

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