Smardale Gill Viaduct: funding for repairs needed urgently
The severe winter of 2009-10 has damaged the drainage system at Smardale, and together with severely-cracked masonry on several of the lofty piers, requires urgent repairs before the coming winter.
Because of access difficulties at the relatively remote location the cost is likely to be in excess of £40,000, for which the Northern Viaduct Trust is seeking funding to supplement its own financial reserves.
The Trust is a registered charity founded in 1989 to restore the majestic Grade II*-listed Smardale Gill viaduct near Kirkby Stephen, on the former railway between Barnard Castle and Tebay in Cumbria. Ninety feet high, it crosses a dramatic gorge on 14 arches. Long disused, it was in danger of collapse. The Trust successfully obtained grants amounting to £503,000 towards the cost of repairs which totalled some £750,000, including substantial sums from English Heritage and the Victorian Society's Alec Clifton-Taylor bequest. Restoration was completed in 1992.
The viaduct formed the only link between to linear nature reserves created by Cumbria Wildlife Trust on the old railway, and became a well-used walk. Subsequently the Trust acquired two more listed viaducts in the same area, together with 1.25 miles of trackbed which it converted into a popular footpath.
The Trust comprises nine trustees and has no general membership. Suggestions and donations would be welcomed by the Chairman, Gordon Biddle, The Crossings, Levens, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 8NU. Telephone 015395 60993.
For more information on the Trust, see http://www.nvt.org.uk.