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  • Writer's pictureAnn

Tadcaster: Bridge Over the River Wharfe

Updated: Sep 1, 2018


What’s going for it?  Yorkshire has for so long appealed to me, Leeds urban and sprawling, and York touristy and twee, then peeping between the two on a map and there you find Tadcaster, a small market town not making much fuss.

Tad, as the locals call it, has been dominated by its brewing industry for about 800 years, thanks to the limestone water. As a result, the town sometimes smells a little fruity, but it’s actually quite pleasant: Sam Smith’s brewery (not to be confused with the pop star) still employs a cooper, a sign writer and an ostler, its shire horses making local deliveries five days a week.

Tad is a friendly sort of place. The town sits astride the river Wharfe, is surrounded by fields, and is in a very flat bit of Yorkshire. People there just got on with life, until that is…..

The 18th-century Grade II-listed bridge over the river Wharfe crumbled on 29 December 2015 after the river rose to historic levels.

Its collapse came as flooding hit large parts of northern England, leaving many communities under several feet of water.

The loss of the bridge, which had been closed to traffic due to safety concerns, left the town divided, with residents and visitors having to negotiate a 10-mile detour to get from one side of the river to the other.

The town was cut in two to traffic, with the only crossing being a temporary footbridge built a year ago.

This division has strained businesses in the town. Contractors Balfour Beatty worked around the clock to complete a job that should have taken two years in just over 12 months.

The bridge reopened last Friday amid great excitement from schoolchildren, local residents, and local and national government ministers. Never has Tadcaster featured on Radio 2, and all national and local media.

So I visited this weekend to see the result of this challenging effort by Balfours bridges team, and also to have another peep at this interesting little town which is almost on my doorstep.

So what is there in Tad?

Some lovely old buildings and a magnificent church

Restaurants on my to-visit list

Lots of shops positively getting themselves back in business

And sadly quite a lot of empty shops, which set me thinking…what could we open???

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