Storm Desmond washes away the wobbly bridge

A picture of the 'Wobbly' Bridge at Allen Banks

We were very saddened about the devastation that Storm Desmond caused and our sympathies are with all those affected, particularly in Cumbria. Here at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, we were also hit by the storm. Happily no visitors, volunteers or staff members were injured and that of course is the main thing.

Due to the storm, there was substantial damage caused, which is why we have had to close. The priority is making sure everything is safe for visitors so that the site can re-open before the Christmas holidays – fingers crossed.

Perhaps the most significant damage was to the “wobbly bridge”, which has been destroyed by the flood water. The bridge snapped in two, the west side abutment has been washed away and the east side has a serious crack to it. 

The bridge suffered serious damage during the floods of May 2013 and a successful fundraising campaign meant we were able to get it reinstated in November 2014.

There’s also a large landslip from the diagonal ha-ha path (public right of way) which has slumped onto the bottom riverside path. Large trees and boulders were found across various paths and there’s a partially windblown beech tree on the east riverside path which could potentially damage the footpath.

Since the weekend, our rangers have been assessing the whole woodland to gauge the damage and how long it’ll take to make it safe again: we’ll also be focusing on removing the bridge from the river and assessing how to clear the two big landslips on the main footpath.

We’ve received a lot of support and we’re so grateful for the kind messages.

We know that in the longer term there’ll be a massive task repairing damage and we’ve already had enquiries from people offering to help with this.  If you would like to know more please contact Aerian Rogers.

" The Bridge is one of the only surviving historic features of Susan Davidson’s Wilderness Garden, created in 1850. It is one of the key things that makes Allen Banks so special and is much loved by visitors. "
- Eric Wilton, Countryside Manager in 2014