A FUNDRAISING appeal for a new bridleway bridge in the heart of Exmoor is nearing its target. 

CareMoor for Exmoor has been raising money for the crossing over the River Barle at Great Bradley. It will form a link on the popular walk from Tarr Steps and Withypool, as well as part of the long-distance walking route, Two Moors Way.

The total estimated cost of the project is around £120,000, and most of this has been secured through various grants and donations, however an appeal was put out to the pulic earlier this year to help raise the remaining £20,000. 

In the last few months, funds have been raised in various ways, including: 

  • Raffle - suported by businesses who donated prizes (anything from gins to short breaks on Exmoor). Raised £3,000. 
  • Tarr Farm Inn - donated £500. 
  • Christopher Hodgson, a walker who read about the project, donated £1,000. He said: "I live in Warwickshire but have holidayed on Exmoor with my children and grandchildren every year for 48 years. For the last eight years we have stayed in Withypool and frequently walk the Barle. This year we recognised more than ever the deterioration of the footpath south of Great Bradley which some of my older fellow walkers found challenging. I was delighted to read your notice by the river about the proposed bridge and make a donation.”
  • Graham Keene Foundation - donated £10,000. In 2022, Graham broke the record for being the oldest person to successfully summit Mount Everest, aged 68. He spoke at Dulverton Junior School on Monday and said: "At the assembly the Dulverton children had a chance to share their dreams for the future. I reminded them they don’t need to achieve their dreams next week, next month or even next year. After all it took me nearly 70 years to achieve mine!"

The appeal remains open and people can donate at exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor. You can also order a dedication plaque for the new bridge, costing you £100. 

Dan James, rural enterprise manager at Exmoor National Park, said: "We are thrilled with the response to the CareMoor Appeal so far and the progress we've made toward our goal. The building of Great Bradley Bridge between Tarr Steps and Withypool will offer many benefits to people and nature and we hope others too will be inspired to support this worthy cause.”

The appeal was launched earlier this summer and the cost is high due to the remote location, the need to protect fragile environments and the span of the river. A bridge structure has been donated by Devon County Council but will need both refurbishing and extending, and new buttresses constructed.

Dan Barnett, access and recreation manager at Exmoor National Park Authority, added: “These generous contributions, alongside funding already secured, means we’re well on our way to being able to refurbish and retro fit the donated bridge next year.

"This is a challenging and complex project, but a new crossing here will enhance public access and secure the future of this route, as well as benefiting the environment by reducing erosion and sedimentation in the river and safeguarding a fragile wet woodland habitat."