Three-Arch Bridge Over the River Tone at Nynehead

The three-arch bridge [ST 1375 2235] shown below from upstream is about half a mile directly south of Nynehead Court and is the final structure on the old carriageway as it approached the Court from the south. The carriageway entry gates are off Nynehead Road near Poole. Between there and the three-arch bridge the carriageway passes under two archways; one under the railway visible from the old canal foot path and the other, shown below, is under the canal itself. The carriageway was originally lined with an avenue of some 140 turkey oaks, planted in 1832 by Edward Sanford in celebration of the Great Reform Act. For several decades no trace of the avenue remained, the trees having been felled in the mid-20th C. but the line of the carriageway was still discernible, especially in winter when the ground was clear of crops. However, in early 2011 an avenue of 68 oaks was re-planted along the old carriageway from the archway under the canal lift to the three arch bridge.



The three-arch bridge over the River Tone was designed by the architect Thomas Lee [1794-1834] of Barnstaple, winner of the Royal Academy Schools silver medal and the Royal Society of Arts gold medal. He trained in London under Sir John Sloane before joining David Laing. He is probably best known for designing Arlington Court in Devon but he also designed the eyesore known as the Wellington Monument. His three-arch bridge at Nynehead was built in 1817 and replaced an earlier one on what was the old route from Nynehead to Wellington.


lift arch


As can be seen in the top image, two of the arches are now redundant as water only flows under one arch. The bridge was built as part of an elaborate job creation scheme in the first half of the 19th C. by the then owners of Nynehead Court; first William Sanford then his son Edward. As many as 300 men were employed in general works creating a New Parkland. Among the tasks undertaken was enlarging the bed of the original "modest brook" [to which it has since reverted] into a "fine and handsome river"1 sufficiently wide to require the three arches which stand as idle witnesses to the river's former grandeur. The enlarged water course would also have enhanced the vista on approaching Nynehead Court from the carriageway.

1. Edward Jeboult 'The Valley of the Tone' 1873