Postbridge Clapper Bridge - History and Facts | History Hit

Postbridge Clapper Bridge

Devon, England, United Kingdom

James Carson

22 May 2021

About Postbridge Clapper Bridge

Postbridge Clapper Bridge is a large medieval clapper bridge, which crosses the East Dart River located in Postbridge – a village in Dartmoor, Devon.

Postbridge Clapper Bridge history

Various streams run through the middle of Dartmoor, and at Postbridge the East Dart River is about four metres wide. Postbridge was an important outpost between Princetown and Moretonhampstead, particularly for the tin trade which was a significant industry in medieval Dartmoor. The clapper bridge was built in the 13th century to better handle this traffic.

Postbridge may get its name being a place where post was handled between Plymouth and Exeter (it still has a remote post office) and for having this bridge – but in local language ‘pawsts’ were a term for slabs, which the clapper bridge is built out of. The ‘post’ may therefore just refer to the posts of the bridge, rather than the fact is was used for post.

The bridge was damaged by a farmer in the 19th century and one of the slabs ended up in the river bed. Major restoration work took place in 1879, with the missing slab placed back in situ on the bridge.

Postbridge Clapper Bridge today

Postbridge is a unique historic gem that will turn heads as you drive through central Dartmoor. The clapper bridge is about 1.5 meters wide, so while you can walk across, a ‘modern’ bridge was built in the 1780s to handle cart traffic – and later cars. Traffic on the main road through Postbridge can be quite fast – so its best to view the bridge on the river banks rather than the modern bridge where there is no pavement.

Getting to Postbridge Clapper Bridge

Postbridge is located right in the center of Dartmoor, on the B3212 road that runs between Princetown and Moretonhampstead. It has a large car park nearby and can be viewed either from the more modern bridge or on the river banks of the East Dart. Because of its central location and very easy access, Postbridge is well known for being a stopping point for bus loads of tourists on the weekend. If you want to avoid the crowds, go midweek or outside the main May – October tourist season.

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