Penistone Bridges

Stone Bridges
I like bridges. Penistone has lots of good built-to-last stone ones and most of them date from the arrival of the railways in the mid-nineteenth century. That makes them around 150 years old. The first one below is near the cop shop on the main point of entry into Penistone. The original railway station would have been just to the right after the bridge.

The height sign says 14' 9" (fourteen feet nine inches). Most UK road signs use imperial measure but just around the corner is a sign saying it is 50m away at 14' 9" - metres and feet! Mind you, that's not so odd really. Aeroplane pilots use knots (nautical miles per hour), altitudes in feet, cloud cover in oktas (eighths of sky) and visibility in kilometres, all at the same time. The view beyond the bridge has now changed with a new roundabout.

Next is the last arch of the railway viaduct, on Sheffield Road, which is on a curve of the road. This one has seen a few gouges in its stonework. Four houses are being built on the narrow strip of land just over the wall and this bit is now being appropriately called 'Valley View'. I would call it 'Valley Drop' if they don't get it right. It has a very steep and rocky drop down to River Don that I used to climb down as a lad. At the bottom, there is a sort of rough pathway all along the river from the viaduct to the Cricket Club.

A Skip Truck Near-Miss
A skip truck from the Spring Vale recycling centre had a mishap here in January 2008, a few days after the black and yellow warning pattern had been re-painted. Schoolkids were walking home from school at the time. These skips are large boxes and need to go down the centre of the road under low bridges. With all the low bridges in the Penistone area, most local drivers know about trucks in the middle of the road near bridges. This fully laden one didn't move slowly. It first hit one side of the bridge, then the other, then the skip came off and demolished the tall wall. It almost killed three pedestrians.

The skip, its scrap metal load and parts of the wall all landed on sixteen-year-old rugby player Simon Town and badly injured him. In fact, the container pushed Simon into the collapsing wall and the fridges, cookers, bicycles, etc. fell on top of him. If he had not been fit and strong, he could have died on the spot. A young lass received internal and leg injuries and she too was almost killed. A full description of her injuries is not appropriate for this website. She was walking with her mum, who only narrowly missed receiving her own injuries. A newspaper report said that the driver was flashed by an on-coming vehicle and chose to go through the bridge quickly, so as to not cause a delay. That is not what happened; three witnesses (the victims) can readily attest that no other vehicles were on this part of road at the time.

The driver had a string of speeding offences from those unfortunate occasions when he had been caught. For this episode of life-threatening recklessness, he was fined £300 and banned from driving for three months. In May 2008, another skip truck from the same company overturned in Darton.

By the Cop ShopSheffield Road viaduct bridgeSheffield Road viaduct bridge
View from the bridge
Sheffield RoadRockside
Oughtibridge Tunnel Spring Vale bridgeGreen Rd. Bridge

The third picture shows where the high wall used to be by the cones and it gives a rare view of the penultimate viaduct arch. The view from a passing train on the bridge (also 2007) looks down on the wall before it was flattened.

The middle one in the middle section is near to the Wentworth pub by the railway station approach road. The last one in the middle section is a very high road bridge over the TP Trail at Rockside, Thurlstone. For good measure, the first picture on the bottom row is a tunnel end - I suppose it's a sort of extended bridge - also on the TP Trail heading towards Oughtibridge (pronounced 'ootybridge'). It was very eerie to cycle through there in total darkness before the lights were fitted. Old-ish maps and railway documents call the area Oughty Bridge.

The last two look at both sides of Spring Vale bridge. Both of these pictures are from 2004. I used to walk under it on my way to school and will always remember the sulphurous and oily smell of steam locomotives which seemed to impregnate their smell on the very walls of the bridge. What must have been the only working gas lamp for miles around cast its glow just inside the bridge. It had a clockwork timer to turn it on and off, which had to be wound up each week. It is long gone now. Another change took place in recent times, with the arrival of traffic lights. As it is a narrow road, vehicles need to travel in the middle of the road.


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