Chaddington Lane Bridge
In the early 1970s, the bridge on Bincknoll Lane – named ‘Chaddington Lane Bridge’ on old Ordnance Survey maps – was replaced by twin culverts, and the bridge deck was demolished. If only they’d waited a few more years…
It’s a surprise that the bridge survived so long, because Wiltshire County Council had replaced bridges by culverts on all its main and local roads soon after the canal was closed, starting in 1916. This part of Bincknoll Lane is just too small and local, and so it slipped through the net until the age of heavy milk lorries.
Photos from the time show the twin culverts with the bridge arch filled with sand. Then the bridge deck was demolished and a few more layers of concrete blocks laid on top. The road surface is not quite as high as the original bridge.
A replacement bridge was approved as part of the Studley Grange project; it is awaiting funding. The first stage will be to create a temporary road with culverts to the east of the bridge site; then this site will be excavated to reveal what’s left of the old bridge abutments. Detailed plans will then be drawn up for final approval by Wiltshire Council.
It is proposed to use a pre-fabricated system called 'Macrete' as described on the WIltshire, Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership web-site; here’s a video of how a Macrete bridge is assembled to create a hump-back bridge that will take the weight of heavy milk tankers.
The canal towpath will pass under the bridge, helping to create an alternative route from Royal Wootton Bassett into Swindon for walkers and cyclists.
In the meantime, the swans and cygnets swim between the Chaddington and Studley Grange sides through the culverts, rather than fly over from one side to the other, as seen in this video 'Quicker by Tube'.