Usk Bridge, Brecon

Usk Bridge, Brecon

The original parts of this bridge were erected in 1563, to replace an earlier structure damaged by the river Usk in flood. The bridge was repaired in 1772.

The best place to appreciate the bridge’s design is from the riverside footpath. The structure has seven arches. Some of the arches span the river’s normal width, and others allow water to pass when the river’s in flood. The bridge piers are tapered to form cutwaters, which reduce the water’s pressure against the piers.

The bridge was – and still is – the entrance to Brecon from the south and west, as well as as connecting the town centre to the suburb of Llanfaes. To cope with increasing traffic, the bridge was widened in 1794. The alterations were supervised by Thomas Edwards. His father William was responsible for designing and erecting the renowned bridge over the Taff at Pontypridd, which had the longest span in Europe when completed in 1756. Three of William’s sons also became designers and repairers of bridges.

Shortly after the alterations, the artist JMW Turner made a watercolour drawing of the eastern arches of the bridge, with the ruins of Brecon Castle rising dramatically in the distance.

The top of the bridge was greatly altered in the 1970s when a wider deck was added, in response to the demands of motorised traffic. The prominent building at the western end of the bridge has a distinctive curved frontage and became home to a glassworks in 2007.

Postcode: LD3 9AN    View Location Map