VISIT | The Eternity Bridge of Wilton | Herefordshire
A Bridge Connecting Communities of South Herefordshire
Take a drift past the old Bridge at Wilton near Ross-on-Wye
Feel the time that passes as the River Wye meanders past with views simply beautiful no matter the weather or season
Wander past, wander under, wander over - and take your pick of walks that spread out from each side of the riverbank and the opportunities that abound on land or water
"...the breath-taking views of Wye and sandstone of this timeless bridge in south Herefordshire..."
Esteem thy precious time,
Which pass so swift away;
Prepare then for Eternity,
And do not make delay
Those words are etched into the sundial which stands in the middle of Wilton Bridge over the River Wye near Ross-on-Wye. They have been there a while, since the 19th century, but always makes me think of the many people who have taken steps across this famous old bridge, through periods of turmoil and calm, of commerce and leisure. For as time and carriage allowed, people crossed here at Wilton taking in the famous horseshoe bend.
Overtime this sundial was pasted and plastered like some modern noticeboard or lampost leaving scant appreciation of the classic form that it was meant to be but still it remained.
These days the sweep of Wilton Bridge is just the backway into Ross, the place where the kayaks set loose for further down the River Wye or the place to park and amble riverside for miles and miles. But Wilton Bridge is something special. A listed bridge nearby the old Wilton Castle, of old origins built in the very late 16th century when Tudor Kings and Queens made light of rights and rule, and when Elizabeth I still had a few years of life.
The arches have seen a lot of life in this river. Knocked and stressed as the Wye surged and flooded bringing trees and debris, bodies and barrels. Many, many times locals called for its repair and renewal. For bridges are about connection – and for Wilton and for Ross, this bridge showed its need in increased trade and increased deaths who fells in the waters in crossing this changeable river. At times in icy winters, the river froze over allowed children to skate on its jewel-like surface. But not now. There were also talk of plague stones being discovered here once – back in the medieval period when the Black Death killed one third of the population and these stone receptables which were filled with water or vinegar and where coinage could be dropped from one infectious area to another in trade of goods or food.
Bridges are about life – you cross them, pass under them, skirt past them – but they do connect people. And one wanders how Ross would have been, were it not for this bridge at Wilton? Not the same. Certainly now as you watch those canoeists, those kayakers, the walkers and wanders and the locals who cross it daily to come to talk, to trade, to shop and to return whence they came – from across the bridge of Wilton.
So ‘esteem thy precious time’ as the saying goes and ‘do not make delay’ – there is no better example of that than these days that we find ourselves in.
Directions and Map |
Find the bridge at Wilton on the edge of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire just off the dual-carriageway off the roundabout for the A40 and A49