Powick bridge flood damage (Image: Battle of Worcester Society)

Collapse of Powick Bridge

15 April 2024

Many Battlefields Trust members will have seen reports in local media concerning the collapse of Powick bridge, just outside Worcester, which saw one of the first battles of the British Civil Wars in 1642 and its last in 1651.

The collapse occurred in January 2024 following heavy rain and a build–up of debris at the bridge, which crosses the river Teme.

The Battle of Worcester Society has been campaigning since then to ensure that work is undertaken to stabilise the bridge and remove debris in advance of work to fully restore its fabric.

Most recently the chair of the Battle of Worcester Society, Daniel Daniels, and his colleague David Robinson appeared on BBC radio Hereford and Worcester ('Tragedy for Worcester' if Powick Bridge collapses - 'Tragedy for Worcester' if Powick Bridge collapses - BBC Sounds) to comment on the damage and rate of progress.

The opening of a weir further upstream has been suggested as a cause for the build-up of debris, though the Environment Agency has said that the removal of the weir will not have resulted in this outcome.

The bridge is grade I listed and Historic England therefore needs to be involved in decisions about its repair. 

In early April, the Battlefields Trust and the Battle of Worcester Society wrote to Worcestershire County Council and Historic England about the progress being made to restore the bridge. 

Worcestershire County Council have yet to respond to that letter but has said separately to the BBC that "we are continuing to review the bridge's situation, and have been on site and cleared the latest debris from recent floods. We are working alongside partners to ensure we are able to stabilise ahead of next steps."

Historic England has said that it is aware of the bridge collapse and is in conversation with Worcestershire County Council’s bridge maintenance provider. It understands that the continuing high–water levels since collapse have prevented safe access to carry out temporary works, but that these are expected to take place once there is a period of sustained dry weather.

The Battle of Worcester Society and the Battlefields Trust will continue to monitor the situation and press for repair work to be undertaken as soon as is practicable and safe.   

The Battlefields Resource Centre