A new bridge installed on one of the bridleways at Prime Coppice in Marshwood parish is ‘a lifeline for the woodland,’ according to landowners Kit Vaughan and Ruth Fuller.
The bridge replaces a dilapidated 1950s’ structure, which had long been unsafe for walkers and riders. It has taken nearly five years for the replacement to be agreed with Dorset County Council’s Rights of Way department. Complications arose as the old map route across the river was no longer viable and the bridleway had to be officially moved a few metres east.
Prime Coppice is home to Ruth, Kit and their two sons Alfred, aged five, and Arran, aged two. The family moved there five years ago and are working to restore and regenerate the woodland. They sell firewood, coppice products and timber harvested from the trees (see their website www.primecoppice.com).
The bridge is needed because in wet weather the river is too high to ford on foot or horseback. It has been paid for jointly by the landowners and the county council. ‘It opens up access to the wood all year round,’ said Kit.