Heritage Locations

Ashton Swing Bridge

Double deck swing bridge across the river Avon for road and rail traffic


Period of construction:
1900 - 1949

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Smeaton Road, Bristol, BS1


Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

This road and rail swing bridge was built across the river Avon in 1906 in order to link Long Ashton with Hotwells on the southern edge of Bristol.

The builders were John Lysaght & Co.It was controlled from a cabin perched high above the bridge over the road section.

The cost of the bridge was shared between the GWR and the City Council, though the actual cost was twice the estimate of £36,500. It is some 70 m long and could swing either way, but as it had not been swung since 1934, it was fixed in 1951.

The bridge last swung in 1936, and has been a fixed structure since 1953. The large building adjacent to the bridge was once a tobacco warehouse.

Road traffic across the top deck ceased in 1965 and the railway tracks were singled in 1976. The tracks are still in situ but disconnected from the railway system.


Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)

Biddle, Gordon & Nock, O.S., The Railway Heritage of Britain : 150 years of railway architecture and engineering, Studio Editions, ISBN-10: 1851705953 (1990)

Biddle, Gordon and Simmons, J., The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Oxford, ISBN 0 19 211697 5 (1997)

Bonavia, Michael, Historic Railway Sites in Britain, Hale, ISBN 0 7090 3156 4 (1987)

Conolly, W. Philip, British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas And Gazetteer, Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 (1958/97)

Jowett, Alan, Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland, Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. (March 1989)

Morgan, Bryan, Railways: Civil Engineering, Arrow, ISBN 0 09 908180 6 (1973)

Morgan, Bryan, Railway Relics, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 0092 1 (1969)

Simmons, J., The Railways of Britain, Macmillan, ISBN 0 333 40766 0 (1961-86)

Simmons, J. The Victorian Railway, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0 500 25110X (1991)

Smith, Martin, British Railway Bridges and Viaducts, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 2273 9 (1994)

Turnock, David, An Historical Geography of Railways, Ashgate, ISBN 1 85928 450 7 (1998)


Opening Times:
Open at all times

How To Find:
By road: Off A3029, Brunel Way, where it crosses the river Avon


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