Distance from Bulbourne 1 miles 532 yards [ 2.095 Km ]
Distance to Wendover 5 miles 820 yards [ 8.80 Km ]
The original road bridge was demolished in March 1973, despite considerable opposition, because the expenditure for repairs was not acceptable.
The demolition work filled the canal bed and resulted in an earth embankment across the canal with the roadway on top.
This effectively cut-off the, then disused, canal at this point and left the dry canal bed beyond in the possession of Little Tring Farm under a long term lease.
Built circa 1797’ by William Jessop, chief engineer for Grand Junction Canal Company in brown brick with red brick arch and blue brick band to base of parapet. It was a single track road bridge with the towpath passing under the bridge on the right as one passed upstream towards Wendover. This bridge was not a Listed Structure.
LittleTring Road travels north-north-east, downhill from Tring having crossed the Upper Icknield Way.The road crosses over the canal at a slightly downward angle, then turns to the right and descends sharply through Little Tring before rising steeply on it's way north towards Wilstone and the Lower Icknield Way.
During the building of the new bridge the opportunity was taken to widen the roadway slightly, add two footpaths and realign the road slightly to reduce the sharpness of the turn.
Copy of an article from Wendover Arm News, Issue No.3 Summer 1990 - (Editor Beryl Martin)
Little Tring BridgeCampaign - LET’S BREAK THROUGH IN '92
Should you walk from Gamnel Bridge (by Heygates Flour Mill), along the towpath opposite the Festival site, you will come to the Little Tring Pumping Station and the remains of the former Stop Lock. This lock was unusual in that it was not there to raise or lower boats but just to stop water flowing into what is now the dry section of the canal to Wendover, this being done to reduce the amount of water leaking from the canal bed yet still allowing the canal to be used by boats when required.
The steep, shrub clad, bank leading to the road above is the site of Little Tring Bridge. This was infilled in the early 1970's as part of a national exercise to make road bridges strong enough to take the heavier weight lorries that were going to be allowed on Britain's roads in the name of progress.
The Wendover Arm Trust has, in agreement with British Waterways, who own the canal, decided to make the reopening of this bridge an urgent first step in the full restoration of the waterway to Wendover. The Trust and British Waterways have agreed to jointly fund a technical feasibility study and budgetary costing for this. This study will be carried out by a respected firm of consulting engineers who have considerable experience in canal restoration schemes.
As soon as the results of this stage are known, the major criteria for how soon work in reopening the bridge can start is the rate at which finance can be obtained. Subject to finding the funds, it is possible that the physical work to reopen Little Tring Bridge could start as early as 1992. The Canal Festival was one part of the fund raising effort that will be a continuing feature of the process of restoring the entire waterway.
Copy of an article from Wendover Arm News, Issue No.4 Autumn 1990 - (Editor Beryl Martin )
LITTLE TRING BRIDGE- FIRST STEP FOR RESTORATION
The Feasibility Study Will Be Based On The Shaded Area
LITTLE TRING BRIDGE
CAMPAIGN Report by Ian Packe
As stated in Issue 3, the Wendover Arm Trust has been talking to BW about a proposal to reopen Little Tring Bridge as the first stage of restoration. However at their request, and for reasons which we understood, we agreed not to make any public announcements about it until they were ready. This was going to happen at the Canal Festival but the Bypass Inquiry changed all that and we announced
these plans at the inquiry to show the Inspector that restoration is not just a pipe dream, (pipe dream - get it?)
Provided the Trust can find ways of raising half the cost of reopening Little Tring Bridge and creating a winding hole and a small basin on the Wendover side, BW will find the other 50%. Some steps towards this have already been taken.
Notice has been given to one tenant of the BW land required for the scheme and negotiations are taking place with the second. A contract for an engineering feasibility study and budgetary costing is about to be placed with W S Atkins, a well known firm of Civil Engineers, who have considerable experience of canal restorations. The Trust committee has agreed to commit a maximum of £3000 for this study.
A possible start date for the restoration work has also been agreed, subject to the preliminary steps being successfully completed in time. So, if we can raise the finance for our share, and keep the momentum going within BW, work could start in 1992.
This significant indication of real progress being made by the Trust is the result of all the support given to it by many local and national societies etc.
IS LITTLE TRING BRIDGE WORTH REPLACING ? March 5,1970. By courtesy of the Bucks Herald.
This is a view of the original bridge looking `downstream towards the houses at Little Tring - the towpath under the bridge is on the left side.
Tring Council is concerned about the poor condition of Little Tring bridge which passes over the dried up canal. There is a temporary weight restriction on the bridge, and the council a few weeks ago was of the opinion that it should be demolished and the road constructed on a solid foundation.
However at a meeting of the Public Works Committee on Monday the Surveyor, Mr T W Jones, reported that he had received a letter from Bridge Engineer, British Waterways Board, Leeds, that arrangements were in hand for the replacement of the bridge. In view of the council's concern an effort would be made to commence work as soon as possible.
"In my reply I have again enquired why a bridge which spans an abandoned part of a canal which has been dry for the past 50 years cannot be demolished and dispensed with altogether," stated Mr Jones, "they think there is 20 feet of water under the bridge". He felt the bridge did not need replacing and stood by the council's idea of demolition, leveling off and road widening. One of the benefits of this would be better visibility at the spot
It was generally felt by the committee that if a new bridge were provided it should have sufficient width and that there should not be anything dangerous about it
Copy of an article from Wendover Arm News, Issue No.4 Autumn 1990 - (Editor Beryl Martin )
TO BE OR NOT TO BE?
From another Newspaper of that time:
This is a picture of the original bridge looking `upstream´ away from Little Tring - the towpath under the bridge is on the right side.
The bridge over the dry expanse of canal at Little Tring has deteriorated to such an extent that it cannot be strengthened.
It must eithe be reconstructed or demolished; members of Tring Urban Council's Public Works Committee were told on Monday.
The committee had discussed this bridge at a previous meeting and it had been generally accepted then that demolition was the answer to the problem.
Surveyor, Mr Thomas Jones, was instructed to write to British Waterways asking for a meeting about the future of the bridge. On Monday he told members that he had not received a reply to this request - only an acknowledgement to his letter.
However the bridge at Little Tring and others in the county were discussed at a meeting at Hertford on November 13, when representatives of the board, the Ministry of Transport, the County Council and local councils were present
It was made clear at this meeting that the Board had no money to strengthen the bridges to the required standard. The Ministry therefore agreed that it would undertake the strengthening - but all other expenditure involved in the work had to be undertaken by the Highway Authority concerned.
As far as Little Tring was concerned Mr. Jones said that it needs either reconstruction or demolition - "and the financial responsibility in respect of this work has yet to be determined."
Which ever way is decided, he added, the work would be done within the next two years.
Mr. Jones also told members that he had received two letters objecting to the demolition of the bridge. One was from the Chairman of Beacon Village Society, who felt that if the weight restriction, which exists at the moment, were made permanent, moderate repair of the bridge would suffice and it could be retained "as a pleasant reminder of the past."
He felt too that the "staggered and stepped hamlet" of Little Tring is unusual and worthy of conservation.
The other letter came from the Water Resources Committee of the Chiltern Society - which hopes to see the Wendover Arm Canal as a future linear Country Park with the canal being used by pleasure craft
"The Society is therefore anxious that their scheme should not be jeopardized by the demolition of the bridge," said Mr. Jones.
Committee members were, however, more concerned with the dangers of the bridge, and the cost of reconstructing it
Councilor Ralph Seymour said it should be demolished - the cost of reconstructing it would be too much - "unless they have between £2,000 and £3,000 to spend."
Councilor Bob Hedges agreed - "We are in the motor age, we must think of the motorist," he said.
The committee as a whole agreed, and recommended demolition. The council will consider the matter further at their next meeting.
LITTLE TRING BRIDGE – DEMOLITION Copy of an article from Wendover Arm News, Issue No 5 Winter 1990 (Editor Beryl Martin )
Picture courtesy of Ray Orth
In issue No.4 of Wendover Arm News there were two historical reports on Little Tring Bridge.
The following additional information, from Grand Union Canal Society's committee meeting minutes, gives a further insight into the demise of the bridge, as follows :- The minutes of 17th December 1971 stated that the bridge is to be demolished.
In March 1972 BWB assured GUCS that the bridge would be retained. However because of the importance of retaining the bridge hole a letter was sent to Sir Frank Price (Chairman of BWB) asking for confirmation of this.
A reply was received in May 1972 stating that negotiations with the local council had agreed that moorings would be provided at Tring so that an embankment could be built in place of the bridge. This was all subject to planning permission.
Planning permission for the embankment was granted in August 1972. Although GUCS tried to obtain a copy of what was planned BWB declined to co-operate.
The Inland Waterways Association took up the fight in October 1972 but Sir Frank Price replied saying regrettably the Wendover Arm would be cut off by the embankment.
By March 1973 the embankment was finished but various GUCS members observed that the bridge hole had only been filled in and the abutments still existed. The road had not been realigned and a two ton weight limit was still in force.