Edwards was not a "born" bridge engineer, having been first a clergyman and then becoming a self-taught mason and engineer. In addition to the Pontypridd Bridge, he completed a series of other bridges, including the Dolauhirion Bridge depicted here, from my recent visit. It was completed in 1773 by William's son Thomas.
Different sources report the span as variously 30m or 25.6m (84 feet). The circular holes (oculi) are reported to be 2.4m (8 feet) in diameter.
Both the arch barrel and the oculi are formed from a single layer of large stones, while the spandrel walls are faced using less well-ordered and much thinner stones.
At some point in its history, the bridge was strengthened with a reinforced concrete saddle. I don't know whether the bridge was waterproofed at this time, but the underside of the arch barrel is thickly encrusted in mineral deposits resulting from many years of water seepage.
This is not by any standard a magnificent, monumental bridge; it is relatively understated, but attractive and appropriate for the location. Given the extent of surrounding vegetation, the oculi do little to lighten the overall appearance.
Seen from below, the bridge's lateral slenderness is the most obvious and impressive feature.
- Google maps
- British Listed Buildings
- Engineering Timelines
- Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society
- Transport Trust
- The Ancient Bridges of Wales and Western England (Jervoise, 1936)
- The Bridges of Britain (De Maré, 1954)
- Civil Engineering Heritage: Wales and West Central England (Cragg, 1997)
- The Bridges of Wales (Breese, 2001)
- An Encyclopaedia of Britain's Bridges (McFetrich, 2010)