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Station Road Bridge

Page updated 22 May 2009

Back to Bridges

Horseley Co., letter headThere was a bridge across the River Exe at Exwick, next to the railway crossing as early as 1851, probably built by the Bullers. The Buller's owned land in Exwick and had donated the land at the end of Station Road for Exwick School (opened 1861) and St Andrew's Church (1842).

In 1851, James Wentworth Buller persuaded the Bristol and Exeter Railway to donate £150 towards building two bridges at Exwick – he also collected money from the mill owners to raised about half the required amount. Buller paid the rest and in 1851 two wooden bridges were built, one over the leat and one over the Exe.

The new short cut to St David's Station proved to be popular with more than a thousand pedestrians passing along Station Road on some days. However, the collected tolls averaged just £20 per year with the cost of upkeep falling on Buller.

In 1866, the old wooden bridge over the river was badly damaged by floods and by 1870 in poor condition – it was rebuilt by Horseley Company Ltd, in 1871, at a cost of £1,200 in cast iron and stone. Station Road as it is now known was adopted by the City Council in 1901, and the collection of tolls was stopped.

The Buller Bridge was swept away in a flood in 1974, during the works to build the Exeter Flood Prevention Scheme. Some residents of Exwick were reported as believing that the old bridge had been weakened because the works had weakened the river bank above the bridge. See Exeter Floods in 1960.

The replacement bridge was designed and built by Devon County Council Bridge Works Division at a cost of £100,000. A temporary bailey bridge for pedestrians was installed at a cost of £5,000 until the new bridge was completed. The steel deck of the new bridge was fabricated by Horseley Bridge and Thomas Piggott Ltd and erected by Carter Horseley Engineers Ltd. It was designed to have a low road surface level allowing a flat approach from either side; it is also hinged to allow one end to be raised to line up with a new road bridge, if it is ever built, over the railway replacing the level crossing.

Collapsed Exwick bridge The 1860s Buller bridge after it was swept away in 1974. Photo Bob Wathen. Click photo to enlarge Station Road BridgeStation Road river bridge.

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