See stunning pictures of Constable Country's Fen Bridge being removed
- Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography
A Suffolk beauty spot has had its footbridge removed over the River Stour near Flatford - but it is hoped a new one will be installed this year.
Fen Bridge in the Dedham Vale has been a crossing on the Stour for centuries as part of the public footpath network and an earlier bridge was used by painter John Constable as part of his route to school.
The current bridge which links Dedham and East Bergholt was removed by crane by Suffolk County Council on Wednesday.
Heavy rainfall during Storm Barra in December delayed works to the Fen Bridge, which has been closed to pedestrians and river traffic since June 2020, and it's hoped 2022 will be the year it finally reopens.
East Bergholt parish councillor John Price said it has been "disappointing" for the works to have taken place for so long.
Mr Price added: "It's been a loss of a community asset.
"People have been very understanding of it so far."
He also voiced concerns that the new bridge would not be disabled-friendly as it could have steps but was "glad" something is starting to happen.
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The bridge is regularly used by visitors for a circular walk around the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Dedham Vale.
And since the closure, the longer route through Flatford has been used instead to do the walk .
A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: "The navigation on the River should be re-opened by the end of next week.
"We are in the process of removing the temporary works that were required to facilitate the removal of the bridge and plan to be off-site before the end of the month.
"We will continue to provide updates on the installation of the new bridge, as these become available."
This is the second time the bridge has been replaced since its collapse in the 1930s when £14,000 was spent to replace it in 1985, according to the East Bergholt Society.
An RAF Chinook helicopter during that time had to airlift the bridge into place.
The alternative route for pedestrians is as follows:
• From East Bergholt and Flatford (northern side) footpath 30, footpath 32, footpath 34, footpath 47, Flatford Road, footpath 44 and no vice versa.
• From Dedham (southern side) footpath 44, footpath 17, Mill Lane, footpath 29, footpath 49 and no vice versa.