Redbridge needs some TLC – can you help...

Spanning the River Otter is Redbridge, a vital link between Newton Poppleford and Harpford. Can you

Spanning the River Otter is Redbridge, a vital link between Newton Poppleford and Harpford. Can you help with the project to afford the landmark some much needed TLC. Picture: HAMISH SPENCE - Credit: Archant

A hugely popular venue used by Sidmouth Running Club many times throughout the year is Newton Poppleford and invariably some of the routes used would need to cross over the River Otter to the village of Harpford and beyond, writes Hamish Spence.

This means using the Redbridge is not only a necessity, but the only safe way to get there.

Redbridge spans the River Otter, linking the villages of Harpford, Newton Poppleford and Tipton St John and is a vital part of the popular route, The East Devon Way.

It is also used by Harpford school children as a traffic free route to and from school, the only alternative being to walk along the dangerously busy A3052, (there is no footpath along one section).

Unfortunately, this vital footbridge is in need of some repair work and if the bridge isn’t repaired urgently (by the end of September), Devon County Council officers have confirmed that it must close for safety reasons.

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In 2004 the land around the base of the eastern end of the bridge eroded and Devon County Council carried out remedial work.

This work has lasted well. However, the land around the support at the western end of the bridge is now severely undermined and needs urgent repair or the bridge will have to shut. A meeting organised by Devon County Councillor, Claire Wright on June 22, was held at the bridge with Devon County Council engineering and public rights of way officers.

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EDDC ward member, Cllr Val Ranger attended, as did local P3 footpaths warden, Ted Swan.

The officers agreed that the bridge needs urgent repairs and that there is funding for this work.

It will however, require other work to be reprioritised in order for the repairs to be scheduled before the end of September.

As well as being a vital walking route for tourists, and schoolchildren, the bridge is used by residents of Newton Poppleford, Southerton and Venn Ottery walking to and from Harpford Woods and is a very popular circular walk of the East Devon Way along the river bank from Ottery St Mary and Tipton St John.

A petition has been set up to help demonstrate to Devon County Council officers that there is significant local support for the bridge to be repaired and therefore retained and to demonstrate how very much needed it is.

The alternative is that this route will be closed (probably later this year), and this safe walking route for residents and especially school children walking from Harpford to Newton Poppleford will be lost.

As will a beautiful part of the East Devon Way with a potential hit to East Devon’s tourism, at the worst possible time.

If you wish to show your support, please tell Devon County Council to keep this vital route open by logging on to and signing this petition. Cllrs Val Ranger and Claire Wright thank you in advance.

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