New Life for Old Bridge
Spanning Oxygrains Beck near Rishworth and dwarfed by the 19th century rebuilt toll bridge (now carrying the A672, Oldham to Ripponen Road) lies a rather unassuming, yet important bridge.
Oxygrains Old Bridge (SE 00412 15842) is a packhorse bridge built during the 17th or early 18th century to cross the beck at the lowest point of Spa Clough on the Yorkshire to Lancashire packhorse route. Packhorse routes are narrow routeways interspersed with small bridges that were primarily used by packhorse traders. It is likely that cloth was being carried along this route.
Built of millstone grit, the dressed stone (ashlar) arch springs from shaped skewbacks (vertical arch supports). The arch is formed of 22 voussoirs (wedges of stone) with a smaller central keystone.
The bridge is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which means that it is a protected heritage asset, however it was listed on English Heritage’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register having suffered over the years from use. Recently, Oxygrains Old Bridge underwent repairs and consolidation, funded by our partners Natural England, resulting on it being removed from the 'At Risk' register.