Tammy Naylor – resident of Esk Valley and member of the This Exploited Land Executive Group
The last few weeks has been a momentous occasion in the normally quiet hamlet of Esk Valley*. The four lads that have been constructing the bridge (commissioned by the National Park Authority) which will replace one missing from over the Murk Esk since the 1930s, got to the stage of spanning the river. To do this was quite a task, with no crane on site and involved a lot of measuring and checking before gently winching the front edge towards the abutment.
This was quite a leap of faith to let the beautiful curved span lower across the river but, with the help of an old fashioned A-frame on the opposite bank, it is now in place and it’s something special to see. Today there was the regular sound of hammering as the treads are nailed in place. It won’t be long now until we are again linked to Crag Cliff, Green End and the moors.
The original bridge was built in the 1830s to transport whinstone from the mines near Green End, on to the Whitby and Pickering Railway, so is a very important structure, being so early in date. There was no settlement of Esk Valley until 1858, just a solitary farm. The ponies that hauled the tubs over the bridge were stabled on the west side of the bridge and the mine continued to operate until approximately 1935. The bridge then went out of use and would have been badly damaged by three successive floods in the same decade.
It will be a huge step forward to see the bridge re-instated and will open up many circular walks around the Murk Esk Valley.
The results of the HLF funded LiDAR survey** recently taken over the Murk Esk Valley are eagerly anticipated in this neck of the woods. The day itself dawned with a beautiful still morning. While out for a walk with my dog the plane was conspicuous in the sky as it criss-crossed above my head like a lazy butterfly.
The conditions were perfect for the survey. When I went down to Grosmont, a work colleague with a passion in all things ‘Aerial’, had not only clocked the plane but also the TEL archaeologist hiding in the bushes taking photos. Several parish councillors also said they had seen the fly past, at the meeting that evening, so all said and done you can’t get away with anything in down town Grosmont.
*Esk Valley is a hamlet at the bottom end of the Murk Esk Valley, the Murk Esk is a tributary of the main Esk; the main river valley where the River Esk runs is often called Esk Dale and sometimes called Esk Valley. I hope that’s clear.
**This initial LiDAR survey has been commissioned through the This Exploited Land HLF Landscape Partnership currently in its development phase. The results will help locate and identify industrial heritage remains in Coombs Wood in the Murk Esk Valley.