Archive for February 22nd, 2013

I’ve got a Victorian toll bridge in Wales to sell you

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

A Grade II listed wooden toll bridge built in 1879 over the Mawddach River estuary in Penmaenpool, North Wales, can be yours for the bargain price of £350,000 ($533,000). It really is a bargain, too. Included in the price are the keeper’s cottage, the toll booth, office, a store and the strip of road off the north side of the bridge. You don’t have to worry about making the mortgage payments either, because that toll is a license to print money. An average of 150-200 cars each day pay 60p to cross while pedestrians pay 20p. The bridge sees enough pedestrian and vehicular traffic in a year to rake in up to £60,000 (plus a £20 ferry rights fee).

The bridge was built by the Pernmaenpool Bridge Company to replace the ferry that used to take passengers across the river. Construction was commissioned by John Leigh Taylor, the son of a prosperous mill owner who had purchased the nearby country estate of Penmaenuchaf Hall in the 1870s. The timber structure has a 1.5 ton weight limit and a neat herringbone boardwalk-looking surface.

The cottage was added in 1910. The two story building has two bedrooms, one bathroom, an open plan kitchen and living area with a sweet cast iron woodburning stove. It has been extensively renovated — the bathroom looks like something you’d see on HGTV — but still retains its original uninsulated clapboard feel. The total surface area is a cozy 462 square feet. There are some pictures of the interior on the real estate listing page.

If the historical property and filthy lucre angles aren’t sufficiently tempting to get you in this bridge and cabin, the location is sure to suck you in. It may seem a little on the secluded side, but it’s just a hop, skip and jump from the town of Dolgellau and people flock to the area, particularly in the summer, to enjoy the the great natural beauty of the Mawddach valley and mountains of Snowdonia. The bridge is in fact inside the borders of Snowdonia National Park. There are steam trains within walking distance, the seaside and several lakes are nearby, and there are piles of activities available from golf to prime hiking and biking.

Just across the street from the cottage on the south end of the bridge is the George III Hotel. Now a boutique hotel, restaurant and pub, it was began as two buildings in the 17th century. One was a pub, the other a ship chandler’s (a shop specializing in ship supplies) which serviced the the ship building industry that once thrived on the estuary. The two buildings were connected in 1890, long after the decline of ship building, to make the hotel. An adjacent building known as The Lodge used to be a train station for the Cambrian Railways. The railway was closed in 1964 and the old tracks are now a public footpath and bicycle trail. The hotel bought the station in 1977 and converted it into bedrooms with en suit bathrooms.

County councillor Eryl Jones-Williams hopes the bridge will be purchased by the Snowdonia National Park Authority.

He said: “They own the footpath and cycle track along the former railway which runs alongside the bridge – the Mawddach Trail – which is highly popular, there is a public footpath on the other side and there are plans to create an osprey nesting site. It would be an ideal purchase for the authority.”

It really would, and I’m not just saying that because I’m fresh out of half million dollars. I’m sure they could use the toll money, and it just makes sense that that the bridge and associated buildings would belong to the park that it is already a part of geographically.

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