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New Pooley Bridge

Pooley Bridge, UK

New Pooley Bridge

Pooley Bridge, UK


Cumbria County Council


2017 - 2021

Design Team

Knight Architects, Mott MacDonald

Contractor Team

Eric Wright, GHD, WEC


ICE North West Award 2021

BD&E Bridges Awards Construction Award projects above £5 million 2021

CIHT Engineering Award 2021

Offsite Award for the best infrastructure project 2021

BCSA Structural Steel Design Awards 2021

BCIA NIC Design Principles Award 2021

IStructE NW Engineering Award 2021

NW Regional Construction Awards Cumbria Project of the Year 2021

NW Regional Construction Awards Civils Project of the Year 2021

Civil Engineering Contractors Association (NW) Best Civil Engineering Project Of the Year 2021 (Over £5M)

Special Award for Community Impact & Engagement (Civic Trust Award 2022)

RIBA North West Award 2022

IABSE Award 2022

ICE People's Choice Award 2021 (Finalist)

ICE Constructability Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

ICE NW Constructability Award 2021 (Highly Commended)

AJ Architecture Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

CIHT Creating Better Places Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

BCIA Small Project of the Year 2021 (Shortlisted)

BCIA Climate Resilience Project of the Year 2021 (Shortlisted)

BCIA Community Engagement Initiative of the Year 2021 (Shortlisted)

RIBA MacEwen Award 2022 (Shortlisted)

When a community demands more than just function

The small community of Pooley Bridge is the northern gateway into the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a beautiful landscape. The original river crossing, which gives Pooley Bridge its name, was a Grade II listed 3-span stone arch, built in 1764. It served as a critical link in the daily life of the area but was abruptly destroyed in the floods of December 2015. The shock of its destruction was partially relieved by the installation of a temporary Bailey Bridge three months later, but its ongoing presence was a daily reminder of loss and vulnerability.

The opening of the new permanent bridge has been an emotional relief to the community, reconnecting the Ullswater valley and restoring normality to the village after five years. The new structure was carefully designed following an intense stakeholder engagement process. Listening to the community and focusing on their common aspirations lead to a design that satisfies the technical standards whilst fitting with the communities' sense of identity.

The new bridge is a 40m span open-spandrel arch bridge, carrying a single road lane and two pavements with a composite stainless steel and concrete structure – the first of its kind in the UK. Its width varies between 7.5m and 9.5m.

Knight Architects’ scope comprised the stakeholder engagement process, options analysis, concept design, and client technical guidance through the detailed design and construction stages.

“It is encouraging to see that the new bridge has such an elegant contemporary design, which is fitting for a village which owes its name to its river crossing”

– David James, Historic England

“It is an ingenious structural solution. The socio-economic impact is great; replacing an existing bridge for the long term and in a robust way is incredibly important.”

– Denise Bennetts, Civic Trust Awards judge