Welsh Dragon

Chepstow Bridge - Old Wye Bridge

2016 is the Bicentennial of Chepstow Bridge, one of the World's most important bridges. The bridge was first opened on the 24th July 1816, and is an architectural marvel and feat of engineering that has stood the test of time.

There has been a bridge in Chepstow since at least the 13th century when a ten pier wooden bridge crossed the span. It was often rebuilt with a ferry used in the down periods. At the start of the 19th century a new bridge was needed, which leads us to our Old Wye Bridge.

Old Chepstow Bridge

Why is a 'pre 1830' iron bridge so important?

Iron and steel are a vital part of our everyday lives. 'Pre 1830' represents the first 50 years of iron used in structural form in world history. The earliest iron bridges are an important part of world history and heritage as iron and steel were a core part of the industrial revolution. Industrialisation was carried through on the back of iron and steel production and development - and quite literally- on the back of iron and steel road and rail bridges.
Old Wye Bridge, Chepstow

Did you know?

Chepstow Bridge is the World's largest iron arch road bridge from the first 50 years (1780-1830) of iron and steel construction.

Of the ten largest iron arch road bridges built in the world before 1830, only Chepstow remains.

Chepstow Bridge was designed and built by John Urpeth Rastrick, a remarkable engineer who also build some of the world's first steam engines from 1806 onwards and the first steam engine to run in the USA in 1829. However, as his work was primarily not in bridge engineering, most 19th/20th century bridge writers did not report his work, resulting in the Wye Bridge being ignored for so long.

Bicentennial Celebrations

On the 24th July 2016 we will be celebrating the 200th birthday of this bridge with a re-enactment of the procession and opening ceremony for Chepstow's Iron Bridge held on the 24th July 1816.

The procession will start from Beaufort Square at 1pm and will be a great spectacle.

On the riverside, local societies and charities will hold a Riverside Fair nearby, with stalls, games, music, food and entertainment from 1.30 - 5pm. The fantastic FB Pocket Orchestra will then be playing from 2.30 - 5pm on the bandstand.

At 2pm a cavalcade of vintage vehicles will cross the bridge to Chepstow, circle the town and then park on the Castle lawn (weather permitting).

Finally, from 2pm - 11pm will have fireworks and music to celebrate the bridge's birthday and the end of the Chepstow Festival.

Bridge Location