Stone Bridge
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The Stone Bridge

© Brian Moles The stone bridge lies unused to the south of Cavenham village adjacent to the modern bridge on the Cavenham to Lackford road. A humped back bridge over a tributory of the River Lark it was probably used by packhorses travelling the Icknield Way.

  © Brian Moles Although known to archeologists and historians, it does not appear to have been the subject of any detailed investigations. The records of the Suffolk Archaeology Unit refer to 4 courses of Tudor brickwork and, in an article written in 1932 it is described as showing traces of parapet walls and dating from not later than the 15th century. The overall width is 71/2 feet with an approximate clearance of 5 feet suggests that it came into existence when carts and wagons first came into general use. A mere five feet, however must have been a tight squeeze for a loaded wagon and therefore probably constructed to enable packhorse trains to avoid the ford.

Icknield Way 

Ordinance Survey maps mark the road that fords Cavenham stream as that of the Icknield Way which in previous times was a drovers road for cattle. The Icknield Way is unique among long distance tracks because it can claim to be the oldest road in Britain and was already ancient when the Romans came. It has never been straight or paved like a Roman road but consists of a skein of prehistoric trackways following chalkland from the Wash to the Dorset coast. Even today, because of the good drainage, the chalk makes the going easy.

A curious feature of some old roads is the creation of multiple tracks running in parallel, either where there was nothing to contain the road, as in a drove road crossing high ground, or where travellers had chosen the easiest route available, such as when crossing a river.

As a result the Icknield Way is thought once to have been, in places, a mile wideDr Paul Hindle. British Archeology ISSN 1357-4442 Editor: Simon Denison. In Cavenham, the swelling and flooding of the River Lark and itís tributories would have created obstacles for the grazing cattle, The slowly advancing cattle would have crossed the heath land in a broad sweep and funnelled to a narrower column to ford the river at a number of points of which Cavenhamís crossing was just one.

Finds discovered in 1943-4 in Southfield's to the south of Cavenham suggest another possible route across the River Lark was to the south probably at or near todayís Robertís bridgeSuffolk Institute of Archaeology.

While Christopher Taylor, author of Roads and Tracks of Britain, suggests the Icknield Way crossed at Temple Bridge to the north of Cavenham village.

 

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