Bathampton Conker Crossing (2018)

Client: The Bathampton Conker Crossing Trustees
Engineer: Format Engineers Ltd
Location: Bathampton, UK

Date: 2018-08-01 00:00:00 +0000
Tags: bridge, steel, computation

The existing horseshoe bridge in the village of Bathampton is an intimidating and un-nerving experience for pedestrians and is on a blind incline for drivers. The narrow pavement on the opposite side is also hazardous as drivers cannot pass each other whilst accommodating pedestrians and regularly take evasive action by mounting it. The local community have come together to promote better road safety. One of the main components of that initiative is a pedestrian and cyclist footbridge across the Kennet and Avon canal at a practical and respectful distance away from the old bridge. We were invited by the Bathampton Bridge trustees to develop options for the bridge and to take that design to planning.

The Bathampton Conker Crossing is a minimal and contemporary bridge from pre-weathered and stainless steel that aims to comfortably sit within the surroundings and does not intrude upon them. The Conker Crossing must also be easily accessible for wheelchair users, parents with prams and safe for small children. We want them to feel that the bridge is part of their learning adventure whilst at the same time providing a safe passage across the waterway. Our objective was for a structural form which arose as a rational development from the site constraints and not one which would be imposed upon them, a natural and logical response to the various challenges. That mindset of rigour with beauty was enabled with a suite of digital design tools to optimise the design for minimal material and cost.

Planning policy context and overall sensitivity of the location has been a key consideration for the design process and we have helped lead consultation with local stakeholders including B&NES highways officers, Canal and River Trust and the Parish Council.