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Riders open ‘Hairy Back Bridge’ in Carmarthen forest

Horse riders can now use an ancient stone bridge in Crychan Forest, near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, for the first time in more than 50 years.

“This historic bridge, set at the foot of a steep valley, is one of the most attractive features in the forest,” Karen Collier, chair of the Crychan Forestry Association, told H&H.

“Crychan Forest offers some brilliant riding. There are beautiful views over the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains, and lots of way-marked routes.

“Now we can use this bridge, we have a direct link to another part of the forest – Epynt Way – which was previously only accessible by a roundabout route on harder tracks.”

Pont Cefyn-blewog, also known as Hairy Back Bridge, is a single-arched, post-medieval bridge that crosses Nant Tridwr, a small stream.

“The bridge is in the middle of quite a steep-sided ravine at the bottom of a valley,” explained Brian Hanwell, area manager of Forestry Commission Wales.

“When construction began on the forest road along the ridge, about 50 years ago, there was a spillage of rocks, which blocked the access to the bridge on the western side.

“Following that, the bridge just fell into disuse.”

Work on the bridge’s restoration began in 2008, funded by Forestry Commission Wales.

Contractors reinforced the bridge’s original structure with lime mortar and made repairs to the bridge’s foundations, which had been partially washed out.

They also constructed a 100m stone track leading up to the bridge, restoring access to the western side of the bridge.

The bridge been in use since September but was officially opened by the Crychan Forest Association and local riders on 5 November.

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