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Kalemouth Suspension Bridge

Located on a minor road which exits the A698 between Jedburgh and Kelso near the hamlet of Eckford in the Scottish Borders, the Kalemouth Bridge crosses the River Teviot just above its confluence with Kale Water. Erected c.1835, at the expense of a local landowner, William Mein of Ormiston, this is one of the earliest surviving carriage suspension bridges. Its builder, Captain Samuel Brown R.N. (1776 - 1852), was a manufacturer of chain cabling, having patented his iron bar links in 1817. Brown had earlier (1819-20) built another bridge, the Union Suspension Bridge (linking Scotland and England) some 23 miles (37 km) to the east, over the River Tweed near Paxton (Berwickshire). The Union Bridge is the earliest surviving carriage suspension bridge in the UK still in vehicular use, and Kalemouth Bridge sits in the shadow of its more famous and earlier sister bridge, yet its considerable charms should not be overlooked.

The bridge, of wrought iron construction with a timber deck (somewhat overlain by necessary late 20th century repairs), has a span of 58.9m (186 feet) and a width of 2.6m (8 feet, 8 inches) between the suspension points. It is open to single file vehicular traffic and, once traversed, allows the curious traveller access to an excellent back lane to Kelso via the hamlet of Roxburgh, once the county town of Roxburghshire.


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