The North Norfolk village of Stiffkey made the national news yesterday (01.11) when the case of the Stiffkey footbridge was featured on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.
Some months ago, the National Trust decided to remove the footbridge across a creek on Stiffkey Marshes. The bridge facilitated access to the marsh and is considered by the locals as a safety feature, allowing egress from the marsh if someone is cut off by the tide.
The Trust is the custodian of Stiffkey Marshes, so it has some responsibility for visitors’ health and safety. That might be one of the reasons for the removal; however, the cost of repair or replacement of the original bridge is also a likely factor.
Since the bridge was removed, it has been replaced with a temporary structure more than once by a person or persons unknown.
It is safe to say that not everyone in North Norfolk is a fan of the Trust, and this move by the organisation has been seen as unreasonable and high-handed.
The locals are adamant that they do not know who is creating the new bridge of planks and scaffold poles under cover of darkness. That statement should be taken with a large pinch of salt!
As for me, I say good on you, Stiffkey. It’s your village, after all, and residents have been accessing the marsh for centuries.
The National Trust stated back in February that it intends to replace the bridge but so far it hasn’t been rebuilt.