Packhorse Bridge, Stokesley

Spanning the River Leven, the Packhorse Bridge is Grade II listed and dates from the 17th century although it probably replaced an earlier bridge. It was on the pannierman route south to Helmsley from Durham, Stokesley being an important market town en route. The high span enabled the river to be crossed in all states of the river. The parapets of the bridge have been raised; when built they were lower to accomodate for the wide panniers carried by the packhorses or jaggers. The trains of between 12 and 40 horses were the juggernauts of the day covering 40 or 50 miles per day, long days. The range of goods carried were enormous: textiles, timber, salt and fish, alum, coal and ironstone. The advent of the railways and the introduction of better roads through the toll system led to the a decline in the use of packhorses.



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