The River Mel: Fords and Bridges

Introduction

Originally the river would have been crossed via fords. The Avenell Way is thought to have crossed the river somewhere close to the current British Queen bridge.

Current Bridges

There was a ford at Sheene Mill until Meldreth Holm bridge was built. This was replaced with the current, rather attractive, iron bridge (pictured above) in 1852.

There are also bridges at Flambards, close to the site of Flambards Mill, at Topcliffe Mill, where North End crosses the river and on the footpath north of Holy Trinity Church.

Other important bridges in Meldreth are Boy Bridge on Kneesworth Road and Guilden Bridge on the boundary of Meldreth and Shepreth across the Guilden Brook.

There aren’t any bridges remaining between Sheene Mill and the Flambards bridge apart from the major A10 and railway bridges.

Private Bridges

Some individuals have their own private bridges on the stretch of river (see example in the photo gallery above) from the railway line to Topcliffe Mill as their land is divided by the river.

Other Cultures

In other cultures bridges, or particularly dangerous areas of a river, are considered to have religious significance and it is important to “keep the water spirits happy”. In Tibetan society bridges are covered in prayer flags to propitiate the gods. One of the photographs above shows Sheene Mill bridge with prayer flags.

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