Butterton Bridge - close up The close up view shows the ribbed arches of this fine medieval bridge, which according to an architectural & ecological survey of 2004 could be of 12th or 13th century date. Finding information about the bridge isn't that easy. It doesn't appear on the North Yorkshire register of listed buildings, whilst there is only a brief mention on the English Heritage 'Heritage at Risk' listing. A recent comment on the Historic England website reads 'The structure is overgrown and decaying, and there is danger of structural collapse. The bridge is now under new ownership', whilst English Heritage gives the bridge a 'priority C' status indicating slow decay and no solution agreed. It would be a terrible shame if this ancient bridge was allowed to collapse as it is of great historical value. It would appear that bats use the crevices under and around the bridge for roosting, which complicates any repair work.
Monks once passed this way A green path now crosses the ancient Butterton Bridge on a path which is now little used, but 600 years ago this would have been on an important route from Fountains Abbey to its granges in Nidderdale as well as an iron works at Smelthouses. Much of the route is now lost, but the path that ascends through Booth Wood is part paved with gritstone slabs, whilst a short distance to the east Lacon Cross acts as a waymarker on the same route.