Clumber Park bridge lovingly restored two years after vandal attack- what it looks like now

It was an act of mindless vandalism that shocked the county- a crucial piece of history at one of Nottinghamshire’s most-loved beauty spots supposedly lost forever.

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 2:03 pm

On the night of March 3 2018 the stunning stone bridge that spans Clumber Park lake was destroyed after vandals ploughed a car into its ornamental pillars, smashing the momument to bits.

The bridge dated back to the 18th Century and was Grade-II listed. The believed-to-be stolen car used in the ‘deliberate’ attack was discovered burnt out and abandoned nearby.

Staff and visitors alike were left heartbroken and love for the structure became all the more apparent in the days that followed.

It seemed that the park's Ornamental Bridge could be lost forever- but two years later the monument has been restored to its former glory.

Dozens of handwritten notes appeared on the wreck, one which read: “Mum and Dad got engaged on this bridge in 1954.”

As the park suffered further blows with an arson attack and the theft of war memorial plaques just weeks later, the future of the bridge was plunged into question.

But two years later, the bridge and the precious memories it holds have finally been brought back to life.

Using sections of the original stonework recovered from the River Poulter, along with specially created stone, the painstakingly restored bridge was unveiled this week.

Police divers recover stone from the river below.

The National Trust, which operates Clumber, says that ‘out of adversity came opportunity’ as it was able to carry out other vital essential work to areas of the bridge while restoration was underway thanks to the funds raised by supporters.

Beth Dawson, general manager for National Trust Clumber Park, spoke of her ‘heartbreak’ at finding the bridge desecrated back in 2018.

She added: “Over the 200 plus years the bridge has been standing proudly at Clumber Park, people have made their own precious memories there, from sharing time with family to proposals and engagements.

“After over two years of careful planning and meticulous restoration, we are overjoyed to be able to see our Ornamental Bridge looking at its glorious best again.

The bridge has been lovingly rebuilt using sections of the original stonework recovered from the River Poulter beneath it, as well as specially created stone provided by Croft Building and Conservation.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the skills and expertise of Rodney Melville and Partners, and Croft Building and Conservation, or the continued and overwhelming commitment of our visitors, members, volunteers and staff.”

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