The much-loved wobbly bridge at Allen Banks in Hexham has been out of action for months after it was swept away in the May 2013 floods. This wonderful, historically important place needs your help. We’re raising £10,000 toward the rebuilding of the Victorian footbridge and surrounding paths, restoring them for future generations to enjoy.
The National Trust is a charity founded in 1895 to preserve our nation’s heritage and open spaces. Over 100 years later these values are still at the heart of everything we do. We rely on funding through memberships, income and donations to look after the variety of places in our care. We restore them, protect them and keep them open for everyone to enjoy.
We do this because open space, nature and heritage are important in all our lives. They provide an escape, memorable experiences for all ages and opportunities to learn and improve our health. The belief that everyone has a right to enjoy these benefits is what inspires us to carry on the work of our founders
Allen Banks is one of those special places. A Victorian wilderness with walks along a river gorge cutting through ancient woodland. It has both beauty and tranquillity with miles of footpaths to explore. It’s not just important to humans either - Allen Banks is classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its rich plant and animal life.
The wobbly bridge (or to give it’s full name, the Victorian Suspension Bridge) is one of the only surviving features of the wilderness garden created in 1850 by Susan Davidson as part of the Ridley Hall estate. Local people have been visiting the site with their families for generations. Children have always loved the excitement of bouncing across the bridge, and it’s a valuable historical and cultural feature. Unfortunately the floods caused trees and other debris to fall into the Victorian footbridge at Allen Banks after being washed downstream – badly cracking the original stone steps which support the bridge, while the wooden crossing has become mangled wreckage.
We need to raise £100,000 in total to restore the bridge. We’ll also instate a set of stepping stones to give another way to cross the river that kids, big and small, will love as much as wobbling across the bridge.
We have raised over £25,000 so far in donations and a have a further £40,000 in pledges from local funders and partnerships. We are working on raising the remaining funding required through public, individual and charitable trust donations, and hope to achieve this by June this year so that the bridge can be reinstated over the Summer months.
If we’re successful in reinstating the bridge we aim to get Allen Banks on the Parks and Gardens register, and recognised as a Victorian Wilderness Garden created by Susan Davidson which formed part of the Ridley Hall estate. Preserving its important historical features will enable us to achieve this.