Dating back to about the 16th century, Wool Bridge crosses the River Frome connecting Wool to East Stoke. Wool, in Dorset, takes its name from the Saxon word Wyllon meaning spring or well, because of the many springs which rise nearby. The Grade II listed bridge features in Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy due to its location next to Woolbridge Manor. It is considered to be the best preserved Elizabethan bridge in Dorset. There is an abundance of wildlife here, but a flash of blue might be all you see of a Kingfisher or the stationary sentry like pose of a Heron. At certain times of the year, you may see Salmon through the clear waters migrating upriver to spawning grounds.
The bridge was closed to motorised traffic in 2000 because of safety concerns. However, it did survive tanks using it throughout World War II. During this time, the end arches were widened and the parapets removed for the passage of the tanks. The parapets were later rebuilt using the same stone.
In January 2018 Wool Bridge suffered a partial collapse. Since then works have been taking place to not only reinstate the bridge, but also to ensure that it does not collapse again. Great care has been taken with regard to the environment – barriers were installed in the river to prevent pollution and to allow work to take place.
After much work, this week the bridge reopened to pedestrians and the barriers in the river have been removed allowing the flow of the river to pass through all six arches once more. There is still a great deal of work to be done before completion but the works are progressing well so watch this space…