East Sussex, UK
East Sussex, UK
When A to B becomes a celebration of the journey
The Tidemills Footbridge is located on the south coast within the South Downs National Park, near to the site of the lost village of Tide Mills, East Sussex. The project is part of the Network Rail level crossing replacement programme and the bridge replaces a popular level crossing used by pedestrians to access Seaford Beach.
The National Park designation of the sensitive site ruled out the use of a standardised solution, so a bespoke approach to design was developed to align different stakeholder interests for the benefit of improved public access and the safe enjoyment of the site.
The area is rich in flora and fauna and contains the archaeologically valuable site of the Tide Mills village, abandoned in 1939. The footbridge and approach paths are conceived as a choreographed route to the sea, recognising the recreational nature of the users and exploiting the opportunity to provide new vantage points and increased interpretation of the ecologically and historically valuable location.
The main crossing over the railway line will be the most spectacular of these vantage points, with tall blackened timber profiles, reminiscent of railway sleepers, used to frame the view of Tide Mills and out to sea, whilst screening the railway and the industrial port of Newhaven.
“This is a project in which the simple purpose of safely crossing a railway line is transformed into an experience in which the wider landscape unfolds and the local archaeology is revealed. This will be wonderful walk rather than a railway crossing.”