Leading Everywhere – How Lucy’s Mill Bridge connects people and places
The Greenway becomes ever more popular, especially in the winter, when the riverside paths are muddy. It’s a place where residents and visitors of any age – and family groups – can walk or ride in safety, for as far as they want. The two walks either side of the river take people on a roughly two mile excursion out into some beautiful countryside, a loop that joins the Greenway by the end of the Racecourse.
Without Lucy’s Mill Bridge river crossing, people would have to find their way along the sides of the Severn Meadows Road. It’s not the quietest road at times and at peak hours, it’s a major through and arterial road for our Town.
Stratford (as a town) has a ‘centre’ – the shops, banks and services on Bridge and High Street and all the roads adjoining them. However, three of our major Tourists attractions lie to the west. Firstly there is New Place/The Guild Chapel and Shakespeare’s School. Then, in ‘Old Town’ is Hall’s Croft and just a bit further on is Holy Trinity, where Shakespeare is buried.
Along this route are several restaurants, there is a dental practice and a Doctors’ surgery. Most notable is the District Council Offices where residents can access lots of services and support.
Looking south of the River, anyone from the West of the Town wanting to walk (or ride a bike) to the Rec, or to Stratford Sports Club, their easiest route (avoiding traffic) is via Lucy’s Mill Bridge. The same is true for young people who go to school in Shottery or at Stratford School, who don’t want to cross the main river bridges and then turn back on themselves to reach Bridgetown and Trinity Mead Estates.
The Rosebird Centre already is a ‘destination’ retail centre with people travelling by car from across Stratford, and from the surrounding villages and towns, to use the present shops and services. People can take a bus. They can also walk there from Bridgetown, Trinity Mead, from along the Banbury and Shipston Roads, and from the south of the river. If you’re thinking that a large grocery shop is going to be difficult to carry back to say the Evesham Road, just as people living south of the river travel by car to the supermarkets on the Alcester and Birmingham Roads, then you’re right.
But if you think the way we all shop has stopped changing – click and collect, shopping delivery, ‘experience’ retail – you need to think again. Yes people will go in a car to bring home lots of shopping (like food etc.), but we will all be encouraged to be more active and ‘top-up’ shopping won’t just be more food so more people will walk to the Rosebird. For those who use a mobility aid, crossing at Lucy’s Mill will be a must. Then again, they already should be able to ..!
With the imminent arrival of narrow boats with a mooring at the new marina (and there will be spaces for 250 boats to do so), for several times a year it will be a big community of people who will want to go into Stratford; to explore, for entertainment, to shop.
LUCY’S MILL BRIDGE – Using or not using the bridge
Stratford’s second footbridge – which needs an upgrade (to say the least) …..
If you live in Stratford, or you come to visit, there is a fair chance that you’ve never crossed Lucy’s Mill Bridge. At the Western end of the Town, down below the weir and locks by Holy Trinity, is the sixth (yes sixth!) version of a bridge that can take people into and out of Stratford.
There is a problem though.
Lucy’s Mill Bridge – the present version (built in Victorian times) – is only a 10 minute walk from the Tramway Bridge, a walk along our beautiful river banks and besides the Recreation Ground where residents and visitors alike enjoy Stratford’s biggest ‘open space’ from Spring through to the Autumn.
Actually many people enjoy this walk and the wide expanses of grassed areas all year round. People have been doing so for decades, for centuries. But if you cross the little bridge over the Rushbrook stream and then head the 300m to Lucy’s’ Mill Bridge, if you are pushing a wheelchair, if you have a bike, if you’ve joint problems – and most importantly if you are disabled and using any sort of mobility device – then when you get to Lucy’s Mill bridge, it’s an awful lot of effort to climb the steps and impossible if you’re in a wheelchair.
You’ll have to pick up your pushchair, carry your bike, climb very carefully using the handrail, then do the same to get back down to the riverbank on the other side of the bridge.
Coming from the ‘town’ side of the bridge, the problems are just the same. Leading up to this side of the bridge are really well made paths that come from the Church, from the houses by Evesham Road and from the Greenway. It’s not as if the access to get to the bridge isn’t there – actually hasn’t been there for some time!
The most important people though are those who use a wheelchair. The legislation that gave them the rights they should have happened several years ago. It tries to make sure that they can have the same access as able bodied people and for much of the time, it does this. This isn’t the case for Lucy’s Mill Bridge.
The Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge are a group of Volunteers who want to change all of this. They can only do this with your help.
This introduction started by saying ‘there is a fair chance that you’ve not crossed Lucy’s Mill Bridge’. There are many people who do use Lucy’s Mill Bridge, and do so every day. There are people who have reached the bridge and then not crossed – because it’s difficult – and then not gone back to the bridge (ever).
People from the Bridgetown Estate, and from along the Banbury Road, they use the bridge to walk to and from work. People who live on the western side of Stratford walk to and from the new Rosebird Estate, to go to the shops and services. When the new marina is built, all the people who will have boats moored there will use the bridge to go in and out of our town. Except those who have a wheelchair.
There is going to be a new retirement home next to the Rosebird facility. The people who live there will try to be as active as they can, and keep being able to do so. They will have a 15 minute walk into town, to Doctors surgeries, to the District Council, to restaurants, to banks. The can do so far quicker via Lucy’s Mill that revisiting the lovely riverbank walk and can have just as picturesque a journey by passing alongside Holy Trinity Church then two alternative routes through ‘Old Stratford’ one walking by Shakespeare’s School and New Place.
Over the next six months, you can be part of helping Lucy’s Mill Bridge have a long term and secure future – a future for everyone who uses it.
The Friends of Lucy’s Mill are looking at all the options. There could be a way of upgrading the present structure. Another idea is a second bridge very close to the present site. Or there could be a bridge structure that replaces what is there.
If you’re a resident of Stratford then you may remember that a few years ago, there was a proposal that there could be a new bridge closer to the town, one situated where the present chain ferry operates. The Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge are a group solely dedicated to keeping the present bridge open and making it available to everyone, and whilst a new bridge (if it happened soon) would be an alternative route for disabled people, as you’ll find elsewhere on this site, the Lucy’s Mill bridge crossing has been in existence for several centuries and it is used – by lots of people.
But more people could use it, notably those residents and visitors who have a wheelchair or mobility device. Everyone could use it.
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