Old, Drovers’ Bridge at Humbie Saved for the Future
The restoration of the Kirkbridge, an historic bridge at Humbie Kirk, brought people together in celebration of rural heritage and community connections.
On Saturday 28th March the local community gathered to launch the bridge restoration with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Lord-Lieutenant of East Lothian Council, Michael Williams MBE.
The Kirkbridge is over 300 years old and was part of the old coach road to Haddington. The bridge has been used for centuries by drovers taking cows and sheep to market and by reivers taking the cattle in the other direction. It would also have been used by Jacobites on the march but, nowadays, is primarily used for recreation and agriculture. The bridge represents a strong link to our cultural heritage as well as a link between the two sides of the Humbie Water.
The bridge had suffered over the centuries with heavy use, poor drainage and concrete pointing. If the bridge was to continue in use then the concrete needed raking out, stones replaced and lime mortar used to re-point. The Tyne Esk LEADER Local Action Group awarded a grant of £18,000 towards this work, which has secured it for many more centuries.
Andrew Bayne-Jardine, the project applicant, thanked funders LEADER, DLX, the Community Fund, and the many workers and volunteers who contributed towards the project, including, three local young people undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award who helped knock in the walk sign posts.
The restored bridge delivers a number of benefits to the local and wider community. There is increased public access to land and more visitors to the area has led to increased use of the nearby Humbie Hub, increasing the Hub’s sustainability. The availability of fresh supplies locally has been particularly evident in recent times when Humbie was cut off with heavy snow meaning the Hub was a lifeline for locals.
Andrew McDonald, LEADER LAG Chair, said, “Andrew Bayne-Jardine has delivered a fantastic project from Tyne Esk LEADER’s perspective as it is one of the rare examples of a project delivering more than was expected:
- There are more paths developed than was in the application,
- There are more interpretation panels than was in the application,
- It is proving more popular than we expected – as seen by the increasingly muddy paths!
- And it is far more beautiful than we were expecting as well.”
If you would like to use this historic rural bridge you can find it north east of Humbie, on the B6368 at Humbie Kirk. There are newly signposted walks in the surrounding area of various lengths and the chance to purchase local produce in the nearby Humbie Hub, which also offers cake, lunch and beautiful views.