Conwy Suspension Bridge

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Conwy Suspension Bridge.
The Bridge seen from Conwy Castle

Conwy Suspension Bridge, originally known as the Conway Bridge spans the River Conwy at its mouth under the walls of Conwy Castle, in Caernarfonshire.

This was one of the first road suspension bridges in the world, though it is now only passable on foot: vehicles were moved to a new bridge alongside it in 1958. The bridge today is in the care of the National Trust.

The bridge is a late Georgian structure, which is positively modern compared with the mediæval town, Conwy, from which it extends over the river. Both banks of the river at this point are in Caernarfonshire.


The Conway Bridge was built by Thomas Telford and designed to carry the turnpike road which Telford was driving from Chester to Bangor, and to the ferry for Ireland. This road, which is now the A55, used the bridge until 1958. The River Conwy is broad and navigable at this point, but Telford Chose the ideal bridging point, below the steep valley and at a pinch before the river opens into a wide estuary. It is high above the water and crosses in a single span so as to allow ships to sail beneath.

It was completed in 1826 and replaced the ferry at the same point.

Conway Bridge c.1840

The bridge was built under the walls of mighty Conwy Castle, and the design takes some note of the castle in its styling: Telford matched the bridge's supporting towers with the castle's turrets. It is in the same style as one of Telford's other bridges, the Menai Suspension Bridge crossing the Menai Strait. The Conwy Suspension Bridge runs alongside the Conwy railway bridge, a wrought iron tubular railway bridge built by Robert Stephenson. Until Stephenson's bridge was built, Telford's was the only crossing of the river.

Built into the rock on which Conwy Castle stands, the bridge is very close to the castle, and narrow at only 8 feet across. Part of the castle had to be demolished during construction in order for the suspension cables to be anchored into the rock.

The bridge was superseded by a new road bridge built alongside in 1958. As of 1991 the A55 road goes through the Conwy Tunnel instead, bypassing the town entirely. The 1958 bridge remains in use by local traffic.

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