|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Stanton by Bridge|
| Causeway: 1192|
Swarkestone Bridge is the name given to the collective length of a bridge and causeway, crossing the Trent floodplane, at Swarkestone. Also been known as the Long Bridge, The Stanton Causeway and The Swarkestone Causeway, at 1304 yards long the causeway is the longest stone bridge in England. Both the bridge and causeway are Grade I listed buildings.
Originally, both the bridge and the causeway were similar in appearance, however in around 1795 the original bridge was destroyed by debris being carried by the river after flooding. Construction of the existing bridge over the Trent began in 1795, being designed by a Samuel Lester from Leeds. It cost £3550.
The causeway at Swarkestone was certainly in existence by 1204, however it is suggested that it could have opened as early as 1192.
According to local legend it was built by 2 women who watched their husbands drown whilst trying to cross the flooded land around the causeway. According to the story it was so cripplingly expensive they both died bankrupt. These ladies are said to still haunt the causeway today.
During the English Civil War, the causeway was the scene of a battle. On the 6th of January 1643, the local royalist Sir John Harpur defended the bridge against the parliamentarian Sir John Gill. Only a few people died during this battle.
More famously the causeway was the farthest point south reached by Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. On December 4th 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie's army reached Derby. From there around 70 men were sent to defend the causeway, due to it being the only crossing of the Trent in the immediate area. These men reached the causeway shortly before government troops who had been sent to destroy it. Bonnie Prince Charlie's men defended the causeway until 6th December, when the army turned back.
During the 19th century, significant work was carried out on the causeway. Buttresses were added at the Swarkestone end, the parapets were replaced and the causeway was widened in several places from 9 to 19 feet. In 1899 some surviving medieval arches at the Stanton end were strengthened using blue bricks which can still be seen today.
Today both the bridge and causeway are Grade 1 listed buildings and the causeway is a scheduled ancient monument.
The bridge and causeway are now both subject to a 40 mph speed limit introduced in 2006 after accidents on the causeway. The speed limit is unusual in that it uses no repeater signs. Instead, roundels painted on the carriageway (The type used at the start of speed limits) are used as repeater signs. The causeway and bridge are also both subject to a 7.5 tonne weight limit.
From June to November 2010, the average daily flow over the causeway was 13726 vehicles/day.
In 2020 it appeared on English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register as a result of damage caused by traffic. It recommended further traffic calming measures and enforcement of the weight limit.
The Causeway was featured on television- episode 2 of 'Rivers' with Grif Rhys Jones dedicated a large portion of the program to the causeway.
There is talk locally of bypassing the causeway and the villages of Swarkestone and Stanton. A feasibility study was carried out in April 2010. This found three potentially feasible routes for a bypass.
The Swarkestone- Stanton bypass was listed in Derbyshire's Local Transport Plan Consultation Draft amd Derbyshire's Local Transport Plan itself as a potential major scheme in competition with other improvements such as an A515 Ashbourne Bypass.